| SPUC's Pat Buckley at|
the Human Rights Council in Geneva
Pat Buckley and Peter Smith are the Society's representatives at the UN - and they are there right now during the final stage of the ongoing negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets (of which more another day) ... Spare a prayer for them, if you would.
Between them, Pat and Peter have clocked up 35 years of patient lobbying of UN delegations from around the world. In great measure, it is thanks to their work (and the work of our international pro-life collaborators) that, for all their terrifying power, the pro-abortion lobby has failed to establish abortion as an internationally-recognised "human right".
SPUC’s UN envoy Patrick Buckley made a powerful intervention in defence of the right to life of unborn babies at the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva last week. The Committee is preparing a new General Comment for Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. A discussion day on the Article gathered together key people and representatives of organisations worldwide on both sides of the debate. You can read below Patrick Buckley’s intervention made following SPUC’s written submission at the Human Rights Committee:
Honourable members of the Human Rights Committee,Comments on this blog? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Patrick Buckley and I speak on behalf of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.
We have submitted a comprehensive document setting out the reasons unborn babies deserve protection before as well as after birth, both from the point of view of international law and of relevant scientific research.
This Committee has afforded itself a once in a generation opportunity to consider the implications of Article 6 of the ICCPR but we remind the members that in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties they cannot reinterpret the provisions of the Treaty or expand its meaning.
The basic question is, will the Committee do the right thing and use this opportunity to protect the right to life of the most vulnerable human beings? Or on the other hand will the Committee bow to the ongoing demands of the abortion lobby and attempt to establish a right to kill the unborn rather than logically interpreting the International Bill of Rights and specifically the ICCPR in accordance with its provisions and in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention?
Based on sound science, human embryos, from the moment of fertilisation, are new living human beings because of their unique genome and their ability to direct their own development. To use the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 we are all members of the “human family”. So we say that from the moment of fertilisation we all share a common humanity and that human embryos are equal members of the species homo sapiens. We also say that each stage of development is equal in value to every other stage.
There is a connection between the self-interest of certain communities and the line to be drawn between recognition of persons and non-persons. That self-interest may be driven by eugenic, economic, social or political factors such that those a society wishes to exclude are deemed to be non-persons. History is replete with examples of this phenomenon many of which have been set out in our detailed submission. This should not be allowed to happen.
However cleverly the arguments are presented the taking of a human life the killing of a human being is a heinous crime it is called murder. The killing of the defenceless, the most vulnerable human beings, the unborn baby is the most heinous of crimes and and we call on the Committee to outrightly reject it.
Denying embryonic and foetal human beings their inherent rights can only diminish the whole of humanity and hinder the search for truth that is the essence of the scientific and human endeavour.
Jus cogens (or ius cogens) is a peremptory norm of general international law from which no derogation is permitted and which can be modified only by a subsequent norm of general international law having the same character. The right to life of all human beings has the nature of an intransgressible norm already contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ICCPR, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
We call on the Committee to reject all practices that enable negative discrimination against human embryos and foetuses. Chief among these are the legalization of abortion and approval for all research that harms or destroys human embryos. Moreover, because human embryos and foetuses cannot consent, even research that is supposed to be directed to their benefit must only be considered with the highest degree of ethical scrutiny.
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