Monday 12 October 2009

Child rights convention protects unborn says Holy See

This past week in Geneva, the Holy See joined with pro-life groups to assert that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child protects unborn children.

Tune in, below, to Pat Buckley speaking from Geneva about the rights of unborn children in international law. Pat was in Geneva, on behalf of SPUC, participating in the United Nations’ launch of the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Pat reports:
“This was the first direct possibility we have had of challenging the fact that the Convention on the Rights of the Child is being improperly interpreted as commencing at birth, whereas it sets out in the preamble that the child needs special safeguards and care including legal protection before as well as after birth.

“I attended a working group on discrimination against children at which Bruce Abramson, a Geneva-based human rights lawyer, spoke about his paper, prepared for the 20th anniversary CRC celebrations, Whose Human Dignity? Whose Human Rights? Discrimination against children in the pre-natal period of life. ‘The rights of children in the pre-natal period of life are the single biggest challenge to the children’s rights movement’ Bruce Abramson’s paper says.

“I intervened too, reminding the meeting that discrimination against the unborn child represented the gravest level of discrimination against children and that, according to WHO statistics, there are 42 million abortions annually. I said that the preamble to the convention states that ‘the child by reason of his physical and mental immaturity needs special safeguards and care before as well as after birth’ and that this recognition of the existence of the child before birth was continued in Article 1 where the word child is defined as being every human being under the age of 18.

“I pointed out that one of the panellists had listed the areas of non discrimination in article 2 but had excluded the fact that birth is part of that list and that there should be no discrimination by virtue of birth or other status. I continued that article 6 says that every child has the inherent right to life.

“I also said that politically correct ideologies have been adopted by many governments and are hostile to unborn life and had to be confronted. The convention had to be interpreted in the manner it was intended and this is supportive of unborn life.

“Fr Victor Ghio then addressed the meeting on behalf of the Holy See. He reinforced the points made by Bruce Abramson and myself. He also made the point that Article 24, the right to health, which calls for prenatal care, refers to the child and not tothe mother as the Convention on the Rights of the Child is focused on the child.”
You can read the full text of Pat Buckley’s intervention at the special UN session on the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Pat was part of a small team of pro-life NGOs lobbying for the unborn child in Geneva which included SPUC, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCLGO) which is part of the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund (US), and Human Life International.

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