UN honours abortion, gay-rights activists

NEW YORK – UN General Assembly president Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann announced the 2008 winners of the UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights, an award for “outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” and they included former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour and Human Rights Watch, both staunch global advocates for abortion and homosexual rights. Brockmann called Arbour ahd HRW “an inspiration to all of us who seek and believe another type of society, another type of political system, another economic model, another world is possible where all persons will be treated as brothers and sisters, without discrimination, exclusion or destruction of life in all its forms.” As human rights commissioner, Arbour pledged her office’s support for the Yogyakarta Principles, which seek to make “sexual orientation” a protected non-discrimination category on par with established categories like race and religion and which seeks to reinterpret existing human rights to include homosexual marriage and adoption. Human Rights Watch has been a leader in promoting abortion rights, particularly in Latin America. In 2005, HRW released a report on Argentina that recommended liberalized abortion laws and filed a legal brief in support of a Colombian case challenging the country’s once-strict abortion ban. In 2007, HRW also mounted a legal challenge to Nicaragua ‘s abortion law.

UNICEF questions institutional daycare

NEW YORK – A UNICEF report on child care raises questions about the decreasing role of families in raising young children and the impact of daycare on the future of western nations. The Childcare Transition called the proliferation of daycare a ‘revolution’ as “most children in the developed world are spending their earliest years in some form of care outside the home” with “a majority of the rising generation in economically advanced societies is now spending a significant part of childhood in out-of-home childcare.” The report raises a red flag over this: “To the extent that this change is unplanned and unmonitored, it could also be described as a high-stakes gamble with today’s children and tomorrow’s world.”

Luxembourg monarch vetoes euthanasia law

LUXEMBOURG – The Parliament of Luxembourg legalized euthanasia but on Dec. 2, the Grand Duke Henri refused to give the new law royal assent as a “matter of conscience.” It was only the second time that the Royal House of Luxembourg blocked a parliamentary bill and the first time since 1912. Parliament responded by proposing to strip the monarch’s veto power. Jean-Claude Juncker, the Minister of State, Jean-Claude Juncker, a move already approved by the country’s Constitutional Commission. Should the euthanasia law come into effect, Luxembourg will become the third country in the European Union after Belgium and the Netherlands to legalize the practice. The proposed law will allow doctors to kill patients diagnosed as “terminally ill” if the patient requests it and two doctors and a panel of ‘experts’ agree. The U.S.-based Alliance Defence Fund said it would provide lawyers to assist physicians willing to bring a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the euthanasia law. In a letter to the Duke, Human Life International president Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer, expressed his organization’s “greatest admiration for your courage in refusing to sign the legislation legalizing euthanasia in Luxembourg.