The UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS, June 25-27, was the scene of a clash between pro-family delegates and organizations and those countries and groups that sought to extend same-sex rights.

Canadian officials were among those who successfully fought against 11 nations that attempted to ban the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, a group of radical activists, from the proceedings. With the support of the European Union, IGLHR won recognition. Earlier that month, Norway threatened to cut off foreign aid to Egypt over its support for inclusion in the document of references to “men who have sex with men” in a list of groups vulnerable to AIDS, along with prostitutes and intravenous drug users.

Pro-family critics point to the complete disinterest of most western delegations and anti-family non-governmental organizations to make any moral judgement as one reason the conference would do little to stifle the spread of AIDS. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said “We cannot deal with AIDS by making moral judgements, or refusing to face unpleasant facts…”

Instead of addressing a major cause for the spread of AIDS in some parts of the world, the conference sought a US$9.2 billion fund. Former Canadian ambassador to the UN Stephen Lewis, who now serves as the UN’s special envoy on AIDS for Africa, said he would like to see Canada contribute $100 million to the fund.

But the pro-family agenda was not entirely unsuccessful as Canada and Europe failed in their efforts to have wording included in the draft document that would have promoted a gay-rights agenda including same-sex marriage.