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At Beijing +5, former first lady Hillary Clinton told the delegates and representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that the Beijing documents were “promises agreed to” and that those promises were both “a road map” and a “rallying cry.”

Beijing +10 was to be the radical feminists’ finest hour — the culmination of Mrs. Clinton’s prediction that “women’s rights” would become “human rights.” She made it clear that “women’s rights” included abortion, “gender mainstreaming,” preferences and quotas.

Yet, the timing of Beijing +10 couldn’t be worse for radical feminists. They were counting on this conference to be the capstone of “women’s rights,” yet they are farther from their goals now than at either Beijing (1995) or Beijing +5 (2000). The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is releasing a document essentially admitting that the Beijing platform has been a failure and asking for a Fifth World Conference on Women because “since the year 2000 [there has been] a global backlash.” Their document also admitted that “in this negative climate, reopening the point agreed upon in the platform for action [in Beijing] for renewed debate is out of the question.”

The radical feminists were riding so high after Beijing and for the first five years afterward. What went wrong?

They sold out pure and simple reason. In spite of their sense of entitlement, the radical feminists no more represent women than Jesse Jackson represents blacks. They turned blind eyes to the womanizing of Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy. They ignored the whole range of issues affecting women’s well-being in order to push for abortion rights worldwide and for the whole range of preferences and quotas that are embodied in the mantra “gender mainstreaming.”

In the year 2000, Hillary Clinton praised the U.N. for “defining and guaranteeing” women’s rights around the globe. Such remarks seem hollow in light of recent revelations about the U.N.’s corruption and the abhorrent behavior of U.N. personnel in nations around the world. To add insult to injury, feminists have remained silent about these egregious and widespread abuses of women. Instead of calling the U.N. to accountability for its corruption, radical feminists are depending upon the U.N. to formulate into policy and then mainstream their global agenda.

In her recent article, Wendy McElroy itemized the many ways that the U.N. has squandered its moral authority.

  • On human rights, the oil-for-food scandal lined Saddam Hussein’s pockets to the tune of billions while he raped, tortured and killed Iraqi citizens.
  • U.N. personnel — tens of thousands of them — created the demand for under-aged prostitutes in Bosnia.
  • In the Congo, about 50 U.N. personnel face 150 charges of sexual abuse, mostly with children who were desperate for food — creating what is being called the “sex-for-food” scandal.
  • There are rampant reports of sexual abuse by U.N. “peacekeepers” worldwide.
  • The corruption extends to the highest levels with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees accused of sexual harassment and forced to resign.

One would never know about this extensive corruption from the NGOs who depend upon the United Nations to provide a forum through which to ram through their provisions and shape policy. They also use the U.N. to implement that policy by manipulating member nations and using strong-arm tactics to deal with those who dare to think for themselves.

The so-called “promises” of Beijing are looking less and less likely to be implemented. The Beijing documents are highly controversial and, contrary to the claims of the Left, they were never accepted universally; many nations have refused to “affirm” them — forcing some NGOs to call for “removing the brackets” (meaning to reject the formal objections filed by nations about specific provisions in the documents). The Left is pinning their hope now on forcing the U.S. to sign the old Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) treaty and promoting the new Millennium Declaration goals as a means of slipping in their pet causes. They are turning to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) to “promote political, economic and social empowerment of women.”

The United States is standing firm in calling all U.N. member nations to examine the flawed utopian perspective that is the foundation for so many of the U.N.’s programs — many based on faulty data and logic. These policies often violate national sovereignty and denigrate the moral principles and cultural traditions of developing countries and assume that Western, developed nations know what is best for them.

No amount of high-sounding rhetoric can cloak the radical social engineering being proposed at the U.N. Nor can we ignore the U.N.’s heavy-handed imposition of its radical ideology, and that it will siphon funds that ought to go for women’s legitimate needs around the world.

In ancient times, the men who hunted birds were called “fowlers.” They used a method of hiding behind their horses until they got close enough to capture their prey. That’s where we get our phrase “stalking horse.” The horse out front is meant to deceive — behind it lurks an unseen threat. Today, at the U.N., there are yet fowlers among us. They are hiding behind horses named Beijing, CEDAW and UNIFEM. Our job, as Americans at this time, is to expose those “stalking horses” lest we be caught in the fowler’s snare.

Janice Crouse trained a team of NGOs who attended the Beijing Conference and she wrote a Beijing Bulletin about the daily activities at the conference. She also attended and wrote about Beijing +5, and is at the United Nations for Beijing +10, where she is writing and reporting on the negotiations for Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization and an accredited NGO at the United Nations.

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