GENEVA–A U.N. official tasked with reporting to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on physical and mental health presented a shocking report that declares “sexual rights” as a human right. The United States denounced the report, rebuking the official for inventing rights and going beyond his mandate.
Paul Hunt, appointed as a Special Rapporteur (or, report writer) by the CHR, filed the report on “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.” It appears to be part of a coordinated effort to push for homosexual, transsexual and multi-partner sexual license, and unrestricted, government-funded abortion.
The report spends 49 paragraphs on sexual rights and reproductive rights, and five on diseases that affect poor and powerless people.
Specifically, the report:
- creates false “rights,” which Hunt tries to impose on countries by personal whim. “Sexual rights” are the hallmark of the report, spotlighted and expounded upon repeatedly, yet the international community has never recognized or defined the term;
- endorses and promotes an international right to abortion and the use of (potentially dangerous) abortifacients, or abortion-causing drugs;
- expects governments to offer women information on where to get abortions, train and equip health service providers to do abortions, and ensure that abortions are available on demand;
- requires countries to ensure that adolescents receive information on contraceptives and “sexual and reproductive health services” (which has been interpreted to include abortion), with no mention of parental knowledge or consent;
- tells countries to “refrain from denying or limiting equal access for all persons to sexual and reproductive health services.” This would apply to any regulation on abortion, such as parental consent laws and state regulations that differ from other states;
- tells countries not to “marginalize” sexual and reproductive health in providing international funding. This appears to be a swipe at the Mexico City Policy, a U.S. policy to not give tax dollars to international organizations that commit or promote abortion.
- declares that “sexual rights include the right of all persons to express their sexual orientation without social interference.” Since “sexual orientation” has not been limited or defined, it could reasonably include any sexual aberration;
Hunt arrogantly describes his positions as the “proper understanding” of language in international documents that were painfully negotiated among U.N. members. In one instance, he quotes from the document of the International Conference on Population and Development (produced in Cairo in 1994), then expands it, calling it a “fuller definition” rather than his new, unauthorized definition.
The United States greeted the report with a sharp rebuke. Ambassador Rich Williamson denounced it both before the CHR body and in a letter distributed to all members, stating Hunt should be officially reminded of his duty to act in a professional manner within his mandate.
The Ambassador objected that Paul Hunt:
- far exceeded his authority and mandate;
- relies heavily on his personal interpretations rather than respecting the language of international agreements;
- unprofessionally attempts to create by fiat a “right to health”;
- uses the term “sexual rights” despite the fact it has never been recognized by the international community;
- delineates “sexual health and rights” from “reproductive health and rights” to accommodate a wide variety of sexually active people who, by this reasoning, must have their rights met by the government. It would be conceivable that a government could be expected to pay for sex-change operations for transsexuals or fertility treatments for homosexuals;
- appears to endorse an international right to abortion and abortifacients.
A related resolution introduced at the CHR originally stated the Commission “welcomed” the Special Rapporteur’s report, using a strong verb expressing support. Several countries, including the U.S., insisted on dropping that word and replacing it with “takes note,” a mere acknowledgement that the report exists.
The U.S. went even farther: Its delegation called for a vote to delete the entire paragraph. This reportedly is only the second time in U.N. history that the weak phrase “takes note” has been voted on. Though the effort failed, the calling of a vote powerfully undermined the credibility of the Special Rapporteur.
The U.S. delegation’s actions regarding this heavily biased report illustrate the impact the Bush administration has made at the United Nations. Throughout the ’90s, CWA and other conservative nongovernment organizations found their pro-life, pro-family positions on “sexual and reproductive rights” vehemently fought by the U.S. delegation under President Bill and Hillary Clinton. We applaud President Bush’s courageous stances at the United Nations, and we will continue to keep you informed.
Wendy Wright is Concerned Women for America’s non-government organization (NGO) representative to the United Nations. Miss Wright is Senior Policy Director responsible for international and life issues.