Saturday, March 21, 2009

Art & Politics

"I said to him,Barack, I know Abe Lincoln, and you ain't Abe Lincoln".

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bravo to the Brave at the UN 2009 Commission on the Status of Women

Heroes come from all walks for life; from the young child who is quick witted enough to dial 911 when his mom is choking to those in combat who die everyday for our freedom and liberty. Rarely does one find heroes in the political arena. Even if an act of courage exists, it is usually hidden from the average person. Last Friday, a balcony full of men and women witnessed true valor from one lone delegate as he fought for principle and honor during the last battle in the last hour of the 53rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women in Conference room 2 in the New York United Nations building.

Our new-found friend and family ally was literally surrounded by hordes of delegates and committee leaders who fully expected him to break under the weight of their intimidation and deceit. Days of negotiations into the wee hours of the morning and into the last day of conference were proof that “abortion services” language was not acceptable to a few delegates and so no consensus existed by the deadline of 6 pm on Friday the 13th.

The Chairman of the CSW Bureau, the administrative body of the Commission, announced that Vice Chairman, Mr. Ara Margarian from Armania, who had chaired the week of informal meetings, came up with 40 paragraphs of consensus language on his own. These forty paragraphs were areas where consensus among the delegates could not be found. (The Agreed Outcome Document started as 5 pages, morphed into 25 pages because of the “new” language proposed by delegates, and ended at a manageable 10 pages – thanks to Mr. Margarian.)

The final document was then dispersed as delegates were told they had 2 minutes to read the language and either agree or dissent. The UN process is generally governed by consensus instead of majority rules. This means that one dissenter can stop an entire process if he or she is adamant enough.

In this case, the document that was sent around to the delegates had “technical” errors that involved policy distinctions different then what was proposed earlier in the day. The outspoken delegate from a small middle-eastern nation refused to agree to the “package deal”. He was quoted as saying, “Our delegation regrets we cannot accept these Agreed Conclusions. Two or three paragraphs are not acceptable. We showed flexibility. We request others be flexible as well”.

Another small middle-eastern nation voiced its concern with the process and complained that elements of which it was concerned were not included into the document. Further the lone delegate noted, “I am one person and other countries have many delegates. I need more than 2 minutes to review the document.”

At this point, the bureau and other delegates surrounded the delegate who announced he could not accept the Agreed Conclusion. First two or three approached him, and then several more joined the circle. Before too long, over 30 delegates encircled the small-framed man who dared to reject the “package deal”. It was a sight to see. As the group was embroiled in a private discussion occurring on the floor, pressure built as one by one, delegates stood to announce they were flexible and even though they did not get everything they wanted in the Agreed Conclusions, they were willing to accept it. Nations urged the dissenter to find a way to agree.

The entire block of African nations (53 in total) were willing to stay into the night to find resolution. India was, too. Most of the other nations, including the U.S., EU, Canada were not so generous. They wanted to approve and move on.

Eventually, Mr. Margarian found the resolution…everyone agreed and the balcony broke into cheers; and some tears. The lone delegate who had taken on the entire body of CSW nations stood and calmly spoke in broken English, “Our concern was not taken up…now it has. We agree.”

The final Agreed Conclusion is truly not perfect. After all, it comes from a process that is flawed with too much influence from those that want to see the patriarchal family destroyed. However, without our small nation friends standing firm, it could have been worse – far worse.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

UN CSW is Cover for Anti-Family Obama Language

The U.S. delegation to the UN is about to approve language in the CSW UN document that goes against national law and against President Obama’s publicly proclaimed stance against gay marriage. Call your reps! Ask them if this wording by the U.S. delegation is approved by the United States and why they are trying to sneak it past us in bypassing our system of laws. This wording proposed by our delegation to the U.N. goes against our own country’s laws!

United Families International is on the ground at the UN right now. Family Watch uncovered...You need to fight to stop it now!


The United States representative to the U.N. is making a move that goes against national law and President Obama’s position on gay marriage. Please call your Congressman or U.S. Senator and protest the U.S. delegation’s position.

U.N. Delegations are planning on adopting the CSW Resolution on HIV/AIDS. This document references “The International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS” as adopted by the Second International Consultation on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, and as amended and endorsed at the Third International supported by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UNAIDS.

The HIV/AIDS and Human Rights International Guidelines have the following language included as referenced below:

30. (f) “Laws should also be enacted to ensure women’s reproductive and sexual rights, including the right of independent access to reproductive and STD health information and services and means of contraception, including safe and legal abortion and the freedom to choose among these, the right to determine number and spacing of children . . .”

30. (h) “Anti-discrimination and protective laws should be enacted to reduce human rights violations against men having sex with men . . . ”

30. (h) “. . . These measures should include providing penalties for vilification of people who engage in same-sex relationships, giving legal recognition to same sex marriages . . .”

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Courage From an Iraqi Woman

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thanks to Brenda Sanders for posting this blog from the United Nations:

I had a small hope as I walked up to the United Nations building to attend the Commission on the Status of Women (53rd Session). I hoped to somehow make a small difference. I hoped to be able to make a positive stand for womanhood, motherhood and family.

During Commission of the Status of Women, I attended a few women's forums and caucuses and heard repeatedly about the rights of women, some justified and others conjured from anger, resentment and fear. Now, I have an increase in love for my sisters of the world, even though I do not agree with all of their issues.

The forums are filled with language of "reproductive rights and justice", "advancing gender equality and economic empowerment", and "comprehensive sexual and reproductive rights" (abortion). The meetings are full of powerful women who are not afraid to speak boldly and push their agenda at the UN.

Why does United Families come to the UN? We are hoping to have a positive influence on the language of the Agreed Conclusions Document that will be voted on at the end of the session. This document will then be added to previous documents that define the status of women worldwide. We also try to strengthen and maintain relationships with representatives of other nations.

I have always been a proud American. I cry when I sing the Star Spangled Banner. I have deep respect for our founding fathers and for the Constitution of the U.S. But, as I listened to the desired changes made by our US Delegate, (just appointed by Barack Obama), I became deeply ashamed of what the United States represents on social issues. Nations who would look to us as the beacon of light, feel shut out and alone and are persecuted for their strong belief in marriage, life and family.

Here is an example of language that was submitted by the US Delegate.
"Implement measures to increase capacities of women and adolescent girls to protect themselves from risk of HIV infection, through the provision of health care and health services, including comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, and through prevention and education and that promotes gender equality within a gender sensitive framework and provides, whenever possible, age-appropriate sex education based on full and accurate information."

You may recognize some of the language that would take away parental rights and push an agenda on the children of all ages.

Ashma, a Muslim woman, gave testimony in one forum of her belief in family and marriage. She talked about how the role of woman is viewed as the up most vital part of a family. She expressed great concern for the CEDAW Treaty, (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women). In the first paragraph of the the treaty it uses language about the equal rights of men and women. Ashma explained that they believe in equality between men and women but not that they are equal. Equality means fairness, but not the same. She said that they cannot accept this treaty because of language such as that.

The room became somewhat hostile at her remarks. The USA is among an handful of nations that have not ratified CEDAW. Even though President Carter signed it 30 years ago, the Senate must ratify. With the current political change in Washington there is great anticipation that it will be ratified.

The young woman who had stood boldly for family and marriage was verbally attacked and put down. Women from the audience asked her to address the lesbian and transgender rights in the Islamic countries. As she attempted to address their concerns, things got a little more out of control and the meeting was closed. I praised her for her address and asked her to continue to stand her ground. I said that even though I was from the U.S., I had the same beliefs about family and marriage. She was grateful to have a friend.

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