Tag Archives: United States

UN Human Rights Council Affirms Traditional Values

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

(GENEVA – C-FAM) Delegations from European Countries and the United States suffered a setback last week when the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution affirming a positive link between traditional values and human rights. The European and U.S. delegations view traditional values as threats to women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual persons.

This is the third resolution on traditional values to pass since 2009. Russia successfully pressed the resolution forward despite attempts by other UN member states to stifle their initiative.

The current resolution, tabled by Russia and co-authored by more than 60 states (not all members of the Council), affirms that traditional values common to all humanity have a positive role in the promotion and protection of human rights. It states that “a better understanding and appreciation of traditional values shared by all humanity and embodied in universal human rights instruments contribute to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide.”

Echoing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it stresses “that human rights derive from the dignity and worth inherent in the human person” and recognizes the positive role of the family, community and educational institutions in promoting human rights, calling on states to “strengthen this role through appropriate positive measures.”

European countries and the United States voiced opposition to the concept of traditional values when a resolution under that title was first proposed by Russia in 2009. They also voted against a resolution requesting a report on the interconnectedness of traditional values and human rights from the Advisory Committee of the Council in March last year. When that measure passed, they took control of the Advisory Committee’s efforts to produce a report that was contrary to the intention of the resolution.

The European and U.S. delegations repeatedly complained that “traditional values” is a vague concept used to justify violence and discrimination against women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) persons. But having failed to sway enough countries with that argument, they sought to halt the resolution by asking the Council to wait for the report from the Advisory Committee, the same one they originally opposed.

Russia tabled the resolution anyway, confident that it would have the necessary votes. The resolution was adopted with 25 in favor, 15 against, and 7 abstentions.

Upon its adoption, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement declaring “The Russian Federation, together with the opinion allies, will continue promoting the idea of [the] inseparable connection of human rights and traditional moral values in the Human Rights Council.”

Noting that “there were states that voted against the draft (in particular, the USA and European Union)” Russia lamented that “(the) negative position of these countries, their unwillingness to work at the text and fanciful arguments against the resolution draft cause regret.”

Last year President Obama ordered all federal agencies dealing with U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance to promote LGBT rights. Support for traditional values is deeply troublesome to LGBT groups, as the Gay Star News reports. They are worried it will be used to defend the natural family, and fear they will be unable to de-criminalize homosexuality worldwide.

Stefano Gennarini is Director of the Center for Legal Studies at the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) located in both New York City and Washington, D.C. Gennarini’s article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-FAM.

Europe, the Global Economic Outlook and the U.S.

By Raymond J. Keating

In its latest economic outlook published on May 25, the OECD is projecting further economic under-performance in the U.S. and among other developing nations in general.

The OECD says that the global economy is “gaining momentum,” but that “the recovery is fragile, extremely uneven across different regions.”

It’s forecasted that the Euro area will barely grow at 0.1% in 2012 and 0.9% in 2013. As for Japan, real GDP is expected to grow by 2% in 2012 and 1.5% in 2013.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the OECD forecasts that real GDP will grow at 2.4% in 2012 and 2.6% in 2013.

It is crucial to remind ourselves that real GDP growth during economic recoveries in U.S. should be growing at better than 4%, and that even counting periods of recession, real annual GDP growth has averaged 3.3 percent post-World War II. So, if the OECD is right, this under-performing recovery is expected to labor on for the foreseeable future.

Where is the uncertainty in the OECD outlook? It is stated in the report, “Risks around the projection are extensive and predominantly on the downside…”

And what is the key downside risk? According to OECD Chief Economist Pier Carlo Padoan, “The crisis in the euro zone remains the single biggest downside risk facing the global outlook.”

In the report’s accompanying statement, it was explained: “In Europe, business and household confidence is weak, financial markets are tight and the adverse impacts of fiscal consolidation on near-term growth may be significant, particularly in countries hardest hit by the euro crisis… Recovery in the healthier economies, while welcome, is not strong enough to offset flat or negative growth elsewhere in Europe… The OECD warns that failure to act today could lead to a worsening of the European crisis and spillovers beyond the euro area, with serious consequences for the global economy.”

There is no doubt that Europe is a mess; is having negative effects on other economies; and threatens to do further damage to global growth.

But it’s also critical to acknowledge that European leaders don’t seem all that interested in dealing with the key issue restraining growth and generating debt woes, i.e., the size of government. Among the 27 EU nations, government spending sucked up 49.1 percent of GDP in 2011. That’s a growth strangling level of government. Until the size of government is reined in, Europe will remain, at best, a slow growth economy.

As for the U.S., the same basic issue is restraining growth. Total (federal, state and local) government spending as a share of GDP hit 36.5 percent in 2009 and 35 percent in 2010. Such levels were never reached in the post-World War II era. And compare those levels to the 28.8 percent level in 2000, and 30.9 percent as recently as 2007.

Throw into the U.S. mix, increased taxes, more regulation, a lack of leadership on trade and misguided monetary policy, and a deep recession and grossly under-performing recovery are not surprising.

No reason exists why the U.S. should not be leading the global economy, and taking others along with us to higher levels of growth, that is, other than the fact that all the wrong policy moves have been made for the past four-and-a-half years.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. His new book is “Chuck” vs. the Business World: Business Tips on TV.

Research Shows US and UN Diplomats Promoted Abortion as Population Control

By Lauren Funk

(C-FAM) The new book by journalist Mara Hvistendahl on sex selected abortion shows how American diplomats and politicians were active in promoting abortion, often through UN channels, as a means of population control in the developing world.

A body of historical evidence connects the advocates of abortion and population control with US development aid policy, organizations such as Planned Parenthood, and the United Nations secretariat.

General William Draper Jr., a World War II general turned US diplomat, was a “staunch proponent of abortion,” Hvistendahl writes in her controversial new book “Unnatural Selection.” General Draper directed the government’s interest in population control to coincide with issues of security and international development in the post World War II world by connecting high fertility rates with poverty, and poverty with the possible rise of communism in Asia. Draper promoted abortion as a viable method of birth control, and encouraged it for the sake of decreased fertility, which was expected to have positive economic effects in the targeted nations, thus avoiding conditions favorable to popular revolutions.

General Draper continued to advise numerous presidential administrations in the 1950’s and 1960’s on the threat to US national security posed by explosive populations in the developing world, suggesting abortion and “family planning” as the solution. General Draper was “responsible for the first official recommendations that the U.S. government help other nations, on request, to deal with population issues,” wrote Planned Parenthood when they honored him with the Margaret Sanger Award in 1966.

General Draper also advocated for the creation of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in 1969. International observers have criticized UNFPA for promoting “family planning” and access to abortion as a solution to the issue of poverty in countries with large populations and/or high fertility rates.

General Draper’s son, William H. Draper III, became one of the most significant figures at the United Nations during the following decade. Draper III was made head of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 1986. Under Draper’s tenure, UNDP expanded its fundraising to new levels and began a “Women in Development” division, a division which now focuses on achieving universal access to contraception, sex rights and HIV, and gender mainstreaming.

Draper III is also a member emeritus of Population Action International (PAI) board of directors. PAI was originally founded as the “The Population Crisis Committee” by General Draper, and continues to play an active role in supporting population-related programs, including activism at the Cairo Conference on Population and Development in 1994.

Research from Hvistendahl and others also revealed that prominent politicians like Henry Kissinger also promoted abortion abroad as a tool to reduce fertility around the world. Kissinger claimed in a 1974 government memo that abortion is vital to the solution of world population growth. “No country has reduced its population growth without resorting to abortion,” stated the memo, which was signed by Kissinger.

US presidents, including Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and George H.W. Bush, similarly supported the promotion of population control in poorer countries, for the sake of American security and international stability

By Lauren Funk writes for C-FAM. This article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute (http://www.c-fam.org/). This article appears with permission.

Is U.S. Becoming a Low-Cost Country?

As Chinese wages are rising at 17% per year and yuan’s value increases, the U.S. is looking pretty good as a place to locate manufacturing plants, according to a new analysis by The Boston Consulting Group.

“We expect net labor costs for manufacturing in China and the U.S. to converge by around 2015. As a result of the changing economics, you’re going to see a lot more products ‘Made in the USA’ in the next five years, said Harold L. Sirkin, a BCG senior partner.

“Since wage rates account for 20% to 30% of a product’s total cost, manufacturing in China will be only 10% to 15% cheaper than in the U.S. — even before inventory and shipping costs are considered. After those costs are factored in, the total cost advantage will drop to single digits or be erased entirely,” Sirkin said.

Products that require less labor and are churned out in modest volumes, such as household appliances and construction equipment, are most likely to shift to U.S. production, the group says.

Does this mean Americans are less capable of performing intensive manual labor? And, what about the dollar to yuan wage similarity? Does the converging of labor costs mean manufacturing wages in America will be less?

Although those questions remain unaswered, the rest of the article titled Is U.S. Becoming a Low-Cost Country?can be read on Indusry Week’s webiste.