Pro-life statement Introduced into UN Youth Conference Debate
NEW YORK, May 26 (C-FAM) As negotiations begin this week on the initial draft resolution of the upcoming youth conference, a growing international youth coalition submitted a pro-life statement to the UN.
The draft resolution on youth and the pro-life statement are an indication of divided opinions that will manifest in the July conference to celebrate the end of the UN International Year of Youth.
The UN youth document presents a negative state of youth in the world, focusing on young people as impoverished, unengaged, and intolerant. In contrast, the pro-life statement contains an optimistic appraisal of the potential that young people have to participate in development.
In little more than three pages of the initial draft resolution on youth there are no less than nine references to the World Program of Action for Youth (WPAY). This program of action has controversial language on sex education, sexual and reproductive rights, and contested interpretations of gender.
While WPAY has been reaffirmed in resolutions in the past, it is a rather outdated document, being written in 1995 and partially amended in 2007. Many delegates had to be reminded in related negotiations in February that originally their countries reserved on parts of the document due to the fact that it disrespected their cultures, traditions, and beliefs about youth and sexuality.
The WPAY document asserts that youth have sexual rights and that “governments should develop comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare services and provide young people with access to those services.” The document also challenges traditional gender roles and urges that “special emphasis should also be given to the reform of education content and curricula, especially curricula that reinforce traditional female roles.”
The initial draft resolution being negotiated this week has not one reference to the need to engage or support the family. Representatives of the pro-life youth coalition note that there has been a systematic removal of references to the family in recent youth documents, and that this troubling trend is continuing.
The pro-life and pro-family International Youth Coalition was launched in Léon, Mexico at the World Youth Conference last summer. The youth coalition issued a statement in response to the radical NGO youth statement that the conference produced.
The youth coalition’s pro-life statement has since garnered 115,457 total signatures, 57,000 signatories from young people under thirty from around the world. The growing coalition has also launched a new website and is looking to expand their membership.
The pro-life youth statement centers on young people as “relational beings. ” It states, “We are children of parents, and members of a family. We are relational persons, not autonomous individuals. We firmly agree with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.”
Representatives of the pro-life youth coalition say that they hope to epitomize a positive voice for youth at the upcoming July conference, highlighting things like values and dignity, rather than sexually transmitted diseases and confusing gender norms.
The International Youth Coalition plans to hold several major events around the UN Youth Conference, which takes place July 25-26 at UN headquarters in New York.