U.N. Delegates: Let’s Talk About Porn

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United Nations Headquarters, New York City A most unusual and rather delightful thing is happening at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Conference. Countries are actually pulling together and utilizing their diplomatic powers to work to eliminate violence against women instead of pushing the tired feminist agenda of reproductive rights.

Oh sure, the radical feminists have strategically aligned themselves at the UN and are still desperately trying to push abortion on demand, condoms and the legalization of prostitution. But they’re growing restless. In fact, there is more of a conservative trend at CSW this year, even among nations that are typically Far Left.

Feminists are furiousand flailing.

Gloria Steinem served as a moderator for a panel discussion on Monday (3/10/03)but used the occasion to blast President Bush.

“As a U.S. citizen at this international event with so many international women in this audience, I apologize for our country’s flaws that allow an illegitimate president to divide and endanger the whole world. He is NOT our president,” she told delegates and representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGO). “He is a resident and he is waging a unilateral war that 75 percent of this city opposes. Sadly, though, we have no impact. We need to occupy the U.N. Security Council and demand that nations vote against this war!”

Meanwhile, delegations split into two working groups to negotiate documents on the two themes of CSW: the participation and access of women to the media and information and communication technologies; and the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.

In the Far Left’s push to ratify and implement CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the United States has offered language that would make the implementation of CEDAW applicable only to nations that have ratified the treaty. CEDAW was signed by President Carter in 1980 but has never been ratified by the Senate.

“Considering that the U.S. Constitution requires a president to sign and two-thirds of the Senate to approve a treaty for it to be ratified, it would be irresponsible and illegitimate for delegates at a U.N. conference to commit America to ratifying this controversial treaty,” said Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America’s senior policy director who is representing CWA at CSW. “The delegates don’t have the authority to obligate senators to vote in favor of CEDAW.”

Debate is expected to continue today on CEDAW.

The CSW agenda nowhere mentions pornography in the media or how the industry encourages prostitution and fuels violence against women and girls. Prostitution is legal in some countries and certain NGO’s promote the legalization of prostitution as a solution to sex trafficking. Therefore the subject is a sensitive one here. But yesterday, several countries offered their own language on the subject, challenging members to denounce pornography and prostitution.

In response to a sentence stating, “Address gender role stereotypes that contribute to the prevalence of violence against women,” the Israeli delegation added, “including in the media and with particular attention to the pornography industry.”

Iran and Egypt offered a new section stating, “Treat prostitution as a harmful practice which causes serious and sustained psychological harm and traumatic stress for women, thus promoting immense violence against women.”

Pakistan also introduced a new section stating, “Strengthen the implementation of all human rights instruments in order to combat and eliminate, including through international cooperation, organized and other forms of trafficking in women and children, including trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, pornography, prostitution and sex tourism.”

The United States introduced, “Enact legislation making it a crime to use, procure or offer a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances.”

The United States has found itself in a precarious situation since prostitution is a state issue and does not fall under the authority of the federal government. (Prostitution is illegal in all but two counties in Nevada.) Nonetheless, the United States strongly opposes prostitution, especially because it fans the flames of sex trafficking. Last month President Bush signed a Presidential Directive on Trafficking, calling prostitution “inherently harmful and dehumanizing.”

The message was clear. Many at the United Nations see a direct link between pornography and violence against women and want to take action.

“To go from no mention of pornography and prostitution in the draft documents to so many calls for nations to combat pornography and prostitution, shows great progress,” said Wendy Wright. “Those profiting from the sexual selling of women and girls should take note that they have gone too far. It is heartening to see that, though the prevalence of pornography and horrifying degradation of prostitution and sexual trafficking may make some people callous, it can no longer be ignored or considered benign, and is emboldening the nations of the world to action.”

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