The United Nations Committee for the Convention for the Rights of the Child presented its report on the periodic review of the Holy See’s compliance with the Convention.
The audacity of those who wrote this report is breathtaking. Under the guise of addressing sexual abuse within the Catholic Church the Committee attacks religious freedom. For Right to Life this is the issue. The Committee’s report is a flagrant and egregious attack on the religious freedom of the Catholic Church, her right and obligation to uphold the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of life for every human being from conception to natural death. The Catholic Church is at the forefront at the United Nations in upholding the dignity of man and the sanctity of life. There are those who seek to silence the Church and to have her expelled from the United Nations.
Religious freedom is a basic human right, it is universal and it is inalienable, Man has a right to have a relationship with his Creator and to believe and act in accordance with an informed conscience. Religious freedom is guaranteed by the Declaration of Human Rights which proclaims in Article 18 the right to freedom of religion. It is not the prerogative of the United Nations to dictate to Churches what they teach, nor to dictate what we believe.
The chair of the Committee, Kirsten Sandberg, stated that the Catholic Church was in breach of the Convention. The United Nations Committee has directed the Catholic Church to amend Canon law, the law of the Church, to provide for the circumstances in which abortion is permitted.
It has also directed “the Church to overcome all the barriers and taboos surrounding adolescent sexuality that hinder their access to sexual and reproductive information including family planning and contraception.” It has also directed that all text books used in Catholic schools that encourage gender stereotyping and any terminology that could challenge equality between boys and girls be amended or removed.
It is alarming that a United Nations Committee that exists to protect the rights of the child both before and after birth should make a report supporting the killing of children before birth and the undermining of the dignity and welfare of the child after birth by insisting information about contraception and encouragement of sexual activity be promoted to our children and outside of marriage.
Why is the Committee failing to uphold the Convention’s objective to defend the right to life of the unborn? Why is the Committee silent at the starvation, torture and killing of children in Syria and the denial of education for girls in Afghanistan and other Islamic countries?
The United Nations Committee comprises eighteen unelected “experts” including three members from notorious human rights abusing countries, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain. The vice chair of the Committee, Aseil Al Shehail is an advocate for Sharia law. She is from Saudi Arabia where the law is based on Sharia law with the death penalty for conversion to another religion. The law allows for capital punishment, corporal punishment and life sentences for children. This Committee, to its utter shame, has never criticised Saudi Arabia for its flagrant violations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is an outrage.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is an important human rights document that New Zealand has signed. It is important for the welfare of children, that the Committee is faithful in upholding the true objectives of the Convention and not imposing an anti- life agenda. The New Zealand government is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and contributes money from taxpayers each year for the running of the United Nations.
The government should now take steps to have this United Nations Committee cease promoting its own agenda and have the members replaced by members who will faithfully uphold the Convention by upholding the ideals expressed in the Convention’s preamble, which states that “The child by reason of his physical and mental immaturity needs special safeguards and care including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.” The Catholic Church has been directed to report back to the UN Committee by 1 September 2017 on the implementation of the Committee’s directions contained in the latest report.