New York, NY (CFAM/LifeNews) — Pro-life and pro-family youth from around the world arrived at the United Nations last week to represent the International Youth coalition (IYc) at the 56thSession of the Commission on the Status of Women. The conference is often dominated by feminist organizations promoting controversial agendas, such as reproductive rights and the legalization of prostitution.
As delegates met in closed rooms negotiating resolutions, non-governmental groups held panels and seminars to influence the governmental debates. Some were more controversial than others. The Worldwide Organization of Women, once a reliably pro-family group, sponsored a speaker who attacked the work of Catholic health clinics in Rwanda for their failure to provide contraception saying it hindered the country’s development. What’s more, they called for comprehensive sexuality education for young people, an idea many governments consider dangerous.
Government policy in Rwanda is to build its own clinics next to every Catholic clinic to provide contraception and condoms. IYc representative Isabel Avila from Ave Maria University took the floor and said that if the government was worried about development its “money might be better spent on increasing access to education and health care.” Her intervention was one of the only times during the entire panel discussion that a pro-life perspective was shared.
Tatenda Mabikacheche, also representing IYc, who was born and raised in Zimbabwe, attended an event hosted by the YWCA, titled “Women’s Burden of Unsafe Abortion: Implications for Nigeria’s Development.” Tatenda reported that Nigerians in the audience offered their personal experiences. They denied that the problem was one of unsafe abortion but rather the result of broken families and the need for more education on the value of abstinence and the sanctity of life.
In addition to Africa, IYc members came from Latin America, Western Europe, and North America, all from diverse cultural backgrounds. For those at the conference, this provided a concrete example of how the values upheld by the pro-life and pro-family movement transcend cultural differences and extend across the entire globe.
The IYc was initially formed during the United Nation’s International Year of Youth in 2010 to encourage pro-life and pro-family young people to be involved at a UN sponsored youth conference in Leon, Mexico. The IYc’s purpose continues to be the promotion of pro-life and pro-family values both at the United Nations and internationally.
At the core of its mission is the “Youth Statement to the UN and the World.” It consists of eight articles that affirm the dignity of the human person from the moment of conception to natural death, the invaluable role of parents as the main educators of their children, and the central role that youth play as protagonist in the in the world’s economy. Throughout the UN women’s conference it was these values that the IYc volunteers spoke up to support time and time again.
More than 100,000 people signed IYc’s “Youth Statement to the UN and the World” including 58,000 under the age of 30. IYc members will attend UN meeting throughout this year and will also be active in promoting a culture of life in their own countries. The IYc members have established a blog where they wrote regularly about their experiences at CSW that can be found at www.iycoalition.org.
LifeNews.com Note: Timothy Herrmann writes for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Friday Fax publication and is used with permission.