The day started with snowflakes, overcast skies and long lines. Credentials for the annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations’ New York headquarters – held in March of most years – was the hottest ticket in Manhattan today.
The credentials process itself is also a bit awkward for me as a pro-life guy. I stand in line and am usually the only man for blocks or if there is another guy you can pretty much bet I’m the one without multiple piercings and whose hair color is found in nature. Often times, as I’m shivering in the cold (it’s always cold) the woman in front of me (it’s always a woman) will turn around, make eye contact and in a friendly almost garrulous manner ask which Non Governmental Organization (NGO) I represent.
I smile as I tell her – but most of the time she’s not sure what it our NGO does, so she pries until I explain that I work to save the lives of unborn baby girls and their mothers. Then I wait for it. Sometimes it’s immediate, other times it takes a few seconds but once she wraps her brain around what it is I just said (and do) her entire demeanor changes and I get that glare.
You know, the glare most people only get when they’ve just bitten down on 325,000 Scoville units worth of Red Habanero chili pepper. That glare – but hey, it’s all in a pro-lifer’s day.
Then comes the fun part. The speeches. Most of the speeches are introductory, congratulatory and geared toward members of UN Women who host this event – no matter what you may think of them – this commission meeting is a monumental task and UN Women seems to pull it off every year.
The speeches today were the same speeches I’ve been hearing for 20 years – all you have to do is change the person’s name or the UN agency and you’ve heard it all before. There was however, even from the mostly perfunctory presentations a grumbling and a sign of things to come. It seems that UN Women is now not at all happy with the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and that this CSW meeting is going to be all about changing what they see as problematic with the MDGs.
About 14 years ago in September of 2000 nearly 150 countries (give or take) got together, here in Manhattan, and chiseled out solutions to what they (at the time) perceived to be some of the world’s greatest problems. They enumerated them neatly and came up with 8 goals that would finally make things right. Not so much.
1) Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger. 2) Achieve Universal Primary Education. 3) Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women. 4) Reduce Child Mortality. 5) Improve Maternal Health. 6) Combat HIV/AIDS Malaria and other diseases. 7) Ensure Environmental Sustainability. 8) Global Partnership for Development.
Once the list was created and a Millennium Declaration issued the UN gave itself until 2015 to meet these goals. But as with most things UN – the devil is in the details – and needless to say the goals have not been met and 2015 is upon us. It was underscored today that UN Women thinks that the reason for this failure is that “women’s rights organisations, in all of their diversity, were largely absent from the process of developing the MDGs.”
OK – if they say so. The thing is, and I’m not sure where they were, but from where I was standing there were PLENTY of women’s rights groups involved. Be that as it may – that is the sentiment here today and I’m sure it will color the proceedings for the next two weeks.
There were also additional comments about how women are having to try to fight for rights in a “regressive” environment.
It was bemoaned that even though “there have been great advances in women’s human rights over the past two decades” women are now working in an environment of “rising backlash and increasing regressive forces that use religion, culture and tradition to violate rights with impunity.”
That’s right – as the world begins to see (everyday more) that abortion on demand solves nothing – there is going to be backlash against the type of unfettered abortion demanded by these groups. And the abortion zealots have now also made it clear that they are coming after our religion, our culture and our traditions. As a foreign-born Hispanic AND an American citizen by choice, I resent the implication that Latin American nations who mostly have protective pro-life legislation are so arbitrarily dismissed as being regressive. Not to mention the implied lack of regard for national autonomy and sovereignty .
It’s chilling to hear, but it is the reason we are at the UN – they want to further advance abortion on demand around the world and we’re here to make sure they don’t.
Now as the first day of the 58th Annual Commission on the Status of Women begins to wind down, we know that we who fight for the rights of the most vulnerable of girls are in for an interesting two weeks. We are vastly outnumbered but we are ready to bring sanity to an often-time insane discussion.
We covet your prayers.
LifeNews.com Note: Raimundo Rojas is the director of Hispanic outreach for the National Right to Life Committee. He is a former president of Florida Right to Life and has presented the pro-life message to millions in Spanish-language media outlets. He represents NRLC at the United Nations as an NGO. Rojas was born in Santiago de las Vegas, Havana, Cuba and he and his family escaped to the United States in 1968.