From March 9-20, thousands of people representing more than 1100 non-government organizations gathered at the United Nations 59th Commission on the Status of Women in New York City to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. This document which was implemented in Beijing in 1995 was a blueprint for the expansion of gender equality across the globe. Two decades later, many argue that this plan, which was supposed to have expanded women’s rights to every corner of the world, has not quite lived up to its expectations.
Campaign Life Coalition’s United Nations Observer, Matt Wojciechowski, who attended the commission with a team of four other CLC representatives isn’t exactly a supporter of the original document, but at the same time is satisfied with the fact that for more than 20 years, pro-abortion groups have failed at amending language into the original platform to include abortion rights. Wojciechowski tells The Interim that a political declaration which was adopted on the first day, albeit a ceremonial document, did not include controversial language, much to the dismay of pro-abortion feminists.
Wojciechowski, who followed the work of the Canadian Mission closely while in New York, was also pleased with Canada’s involvement during various side events and panels. “I am glad to report that the various statements on Maternal Health and Early Forced Marriage – the two main causes Canada is championing – delivered by Canada’s ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski and the Minister for the Status of Women, MP Kellie Leitch (Simcoe-Grey), did not raise any red flags.” Wojciechowski said, “on the contrary, unlike many other members states who detract from real solutions, and instead push for reproductive and sexual rights and comprehensive sexuality education, Canada’s representatives did a decent job at staying on message in raising awareness about the real issues affecting women and children in the developing world and what Canada is doing to help.”
These issues include providing basic healthcare, nutrition, and access to clean water as a way to save millions of lives from preventable causes. Wojciechowski also pointed out that terms such as “reproductive and sexual rights” are umbrella terms which include abortion and contraception on demand and “comprehensive sexuality education” is a radical form of sex-education that is most likely the inspiration behind Ontario’s controversial sex-ed curriculum.
Canada’s positive remarks drew the criticism from NDP MP Mylene Freeman (Argenteuil-Papineau-Mirabel) who voiced her disappointment with MP Leitch’s statements via her twitter account. According to Freeman, the minister failed to promote abortion, contraception and sexual rights.
Wojciechowski said that some of these pro-abortion MPs together with the many Canadian pro-abortion NGO’s who are active at the UN, are just not satisfied with keeping abortion on demand strictly in Canada. “They are so obsessed with promoting so called ‘sexual’ and ‘reproductive’ rights for the poorest women and children of the world, that they will stop at nothing until this agenda is spread globally.”
Obianuju Ekeocha, director of Culture of Life Africa, echoed these concerns. She is certain that most nations in the developing world disagree strongly with this form of “cultural imperialism.” Ekeocha told The Interim that “many countries, especially those on the African continent will never adopt this new type of colonialism. Even though, the likes of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International” – the two largest abortion lobby groups in the world – “are making progress in slowly chipping away at abortion laws in a few African countries, the majority of the continent which still has a very strong Christian and/or Muslim moral leadership, will never accept this.”
In addition to the Canada Mission’s positive contributions to the commission, Natasha Milavec, a member of CLC’s team, noticed another positive development: the fact that an overwhelming majority of young people there were pro-life. “Even though the abortion agenda was very visible throughout the many side-events and parallel events that I attended, I was very encouraged to see so many pro-life people working together in adding an alternative voice to the meetings,” she told The Interim. “They came from every continent, they were educated and well trained on the topic, and brought a sense of joy to the meetings.”
Milavec said that at times, side events sponsored by the opposition, were full of pro-life young people asking the various panelists and experts challenging questions. “It was a great experience.”