What is it about the United Nations that evokes concern among many throughout the world? A review of news and events from recent years, in roughly chronological order, offers a number of possible reasons.

Founded in the wake of the devastating Second World War as a way of increasing co-operation, strengthening the flow of communication and averting future widespread conflicts, the UN, many would say, has strayed from its original mandate. In recent years, the body has become enmeshed in numerous social, political and cultural arenas, influencing them in directions not always to the liking or benefit of all the world’s citizens.

Among these directions is support for controversial practices such as widespread population control, contraceptive distribution, sterilization and abortion. These aspects particularly trouble pro-life advocates, conservatives and persons of conscience. Many non-governmental organizations associated with these groups have sought standing at UN meetings in order to influence them in a more positive and ethical direction.

Sometimes they have been successful, sometimes less so. Regardless, their presence has had the effect of salvaging what might otherwise be a veritably hopeless situation for the unborn, the less fortunate and those without a voice to speak among the various elites that govern the world.

Unicef has become anti-child

UN secretary-general U Thant was credited with creating a Fund for Population Activities, and by 1972, a joint committee of the World Health Organization and UNICEF met in Geneva to discuss “ways of accelerating the expansion of family-planning services to reach more people.” In 1974, UNICEF called for more co-operation between UNICEF and the UNFPA, and large grants began to pour into UNICEF from the UNFPA. The former’s mandate slowly took on the task of “family planning” as well. By 1987, UNICEF publicly endorsed abortion at the International Conference on Better Health for Women and Children in Kenya. With other agencies, UNICEF recommended that “legal, good-quality abortion services should be made easily accessible to all women.”

In 1992, UNICEF increased its financial support for China’s repressive one-child-per-family program from $2 million to $5 million. The 1995 UN conference on women in Beijing, China, meanwhile, acknowledged the support of UNICEF in producing a women’s health compendium that included a call for “ready access to safe abortion services (as) one of the human rights of women.”

The American Policy Centre says that the UN has been in a drive for power that began over a decade ago: “The UN has been preparing for global governance over those 10 years through a series of international conferences, treaties and reports.”

As an example, a 1995 UN report entitled Our Global Neighbourhood laid out a blueprint for global governance. The report was produced by the Commission on Global Governance, which was co-chaired by Canadian (and special adviser to the UN secretary-general) Maurice Strong. Strong was quoted as saying that, “It is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation-states, however powerful.”

The International Consortium on Emergency Contraception, which has engineered the rapid proliferation of early-stage abortifacient medications throughout the world, was formed in 1996 and has among its membership several United Nations organizations, including the United Nations Fund for Population Activities and the World Health Organization. These entities are joined with such notorious groups as the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Population Council. The WHO added emergency contraceptive pills to its list of “essential drugs” the same year. Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees collaborated with the UNFPA, UNICEF and the WHO to produce an “emergency reproductive health kit,” which was distributed in such countries as Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Hermina Dykxhoorn, president of the Alberta Federation of Women United for Families, recalls that during her attendance at a 1996 UN conference in Istanbul, Turkey, the director-general of the World Health Organization said the three monotheistic religions were “not compatible with the new world order.”

“Any religion with an absolute moral code is an obstacle to them,” Dykxhoorn noted. Meanwhile, she saw literature promoting “Gaia” (an earth religion) freely distributed in UN offices.

Austin Ruse, director of the New York-based Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, observes that the UN secretariat aspires to world government. The body’s permanent committees act as if they are already part of a world government and tend to interpret existing UN agreements in radical ways, he said.

Gwen Landolt of REAL Women of Canada says that executive members of UN committees tend to be left-wing, former civil servants. That results in situations such as the UN Commission on the Rights of the Child censuring Canada for permitting spanking. Or the UNFPA threatening Pakistan with the denial of $250 million in health assistance if it didn’t also accept $35 million worth of “reproductive health services.” Or the same body giving Nigeria $29 million to fight malaria, polio and AIDS only because it also accepted $35 million for population control measures.

“Condoms (are) everywhere,” complained Carol Ugochukwu, a Nigerian family-rights activist. “They make our children promiscuous. All that is to extinguish us.”

A meeting of a UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, which concluded in February 1998, targeted Croatia, Mexico and Indonesia as countries in which “reproductive health” was not assured.

The meeting came on the heels of remarks by Angela King, assistant secretary-general and a special adviser to the secretary-general on gender issues and the advancement of women, who predicted that perpetrators of “sexual crimes” will be prosecuted by international tribunals. The UN has included “forced pregnancy” on its list of sexual crimes, and its Human Rights Committee has found it a violation of human rights not to provide “safe” abortions.

In July 1998, the UN was accused of religious discrimination and involvement in prolonging the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people in the strife-torn African country of the Sudan by controlling all aid distribution and severely hampering relief efforts there. Peter Hammond, director of Frontline Fellowship, a Christian organization distributing food and medicines, complained that religious organizations were prohibited from distributing Bibles and had to get permission for everything they wanted to do in the Sudan.

An official alliance was established between UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the UNFPA at a July 1998 meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. “Reproductive health,” “safe motherhood” and “adolescent health” were major buzzwords at the event.

The same year, Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, slammed the UN for promoting a new world order, a new man and a new anthropology through its various conferences.

UN becoming hostile to religion

The UN’s Economic and Social Council granted the heretical pro-abortion group Catholics For a Free Choice accreditation status in 1998. That allowed CFFC to use the UN as a platform when it lobbied for the revocation of the Vatican’s status as a permanent observer to the UN. The Vatican’s standing allows it to participate on an equal basis with other member states at UN forums. CFFC took out a full-page ad in the Earth Times newspaper, which was distributed at UN headquarters, calling for a “See Change” for women. CFFC was supported by several pro abortion, feminist and population-control groups. The U.S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops has formally denounced CFFC’s claim to be a Catholic organization, noting that it is heavily funded by pro-abortion groups and private foundations (including Planned Parenthood and the Playboy Foundation), rather than by practising Catholics.

At the opening of the 51st annual NGO Conference in 1998 in New York, Nafis Sadik, executive director of the UNFPA interpreted the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as including the guarantee of abortion on demand. Women “must be free to make choices in all areas of their lives,” said Sadik. “Fundamental to freedom of choice were decisions concerning reproductive and sexual health.”

Sadik added that “oppressive traditions” (read: religious beliefs) must have action taken against them because they restrict women’s freedom to exercise their “right” to reproductive health. “Governments must be urged to enact and enforce laws against such abuses and there must be ceaseless advocacy to alter patterns of behaviour that had allowed them to continue.”

Later, at the conference, a member of a panel of “experts” gathered by the UN’s Department of Public Information claimed that “intolerance of homosexuality” was a clear case of discrimination and inequality. “It fell clearly within the scope of human rights protection and there should be no debate or controversy,” said Elizabeth Evatt, a member of the UN Human Rights Committee.

The UN Environmental Program sponsored a 1998 conference, Religion and Ecology, which had as its purpose the formulation of an “Earth Charter” and what one participant called the “rewriting of the Bible.” The Western religious traditions were criticized for having a dominantly human-focused morality that viewed nature as being secondary in significance.