By Sonnie Ekwowusi
In the last one week my email box has been abuzz with mails emanating from different commentators condemning the recent order from one Committee that calls itself the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. Even commentators on face-book and twitter have been lashing out at this Committee for behaving like a bully. The Committee has ordered the Catholic Church to henceforth desist from opposing unmarried teen sex, teen contraception and teen abortion. In essence, the Committee is saying that children have right under international law to have sex, to use contraceptives and to carry out abortion, and therefore the Catholic Church should henceforth stop teaching otherwise.
I think the main issues calling for determination are not whether teen sex, contraception or abortion is morally or legally justifiable or not: the main issues for determination are, one: whether or not there is a binding international law permitting teen sex, teen contraception and teen abortion. Second: whether or not the Committee can order the Catholic Church to refrain from teaching against teen sex, teen contraception and teen abortion. Third: whether or not in making the said order the Committee overstepped its bounds or acted ultra vires its functions.
The truth of the matter is that there is no binding international law permitting teen sex, contraception or abortion. Instead the consensus reached at the various United Nations Conferences, is that all policies and action programs of the United Nations must conform with the purposes and Charter of the United Nations and must reflect the diverse social, economic and environmental conditions of each country, with full respect for the religious and ethical values, cultural backgrounds and philosophical convictions of the people of each country. Abortion, teen sex and teen contraceptives are abhorred in most cultures and by the Vatican. Besides, the consensus reached at both the International conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in 1994, and the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995, (Beijing 1995) is that “any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national level or local level according to the national legislative process”.
Therefore the promotion of teen sex, teen contraception and teen abortion by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the child is a violation of the ICPD (1994), Beijing (1995), Article 26.3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Article 18, 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Articles 5 and 18, 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and, above all, offensive to most cultures. Therefore the recent order made by the aforesaid Committee is illegal, and therefore null and void.
Consequently, the Committee cannot stop the Catholic Church from condemning teen sex, teen contraception and teen abortion. International law binds upon consensus of States, not by force or any form of bullying. In fact, the agreed conclusions at the United Nations conferences are reached by consensus not by any form of bullying. That is why the catchphrase “consensus language” is commonly used at the United Nations Conventions and Conferences. At the moment, no consensus has been reached at any United Nations Conference that teen sex, teen contraceptives or teen abortion should be legalized by all nations. So, why is this Committee resorting to bullying to achieve its unlawful objective?
Teen sexual “rights” contained in the controversial Comprehensive Sexuality Education Syllabus are aimed at promoting promiscuity among children as a “right”; promotion of homosexuality or lesbianism as a “right”; teaching children the various ways of achieving masturbation; teaching children to use condom and other forms of contraceptives. For example, the following are some of the excerpts from the Comprehensive Sexuality Education Syllabus, “masturbation is not harmful”; “both men and women can give or receive sexual pleasure with the partner of the same or opposite sex”.
But as I stated earlier, teen “sexual rights” are in complete break with the ICPD (1994), Beijing (1995), Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and most cultures. Therefore the Committee on the Rights of the child should be dissolved for bringing shame to the United Nations. The United Nations was not founded in 1945 to start corrupting children: It was founded, inter alia, to maintain peace and security and to prevent threat to peace in the world. Paradoxically, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the child is going about threatening peace and corrupting children, our future.
This is very sad. The United Nation’s Declaration on of the Rights of the Child states that “mankind owes the child the best it has to give”. Besides, our common humanity dictates that we should always protect children, the most vulnerable. In fact, if the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the child truly loves children, it should have been up in arms fighting child prostitution, child pornography child labour, child-soldering and child-sex slavery and sex trafficking. Therefore this Committee should be restrained from acting as a bully and corrupting children.