In most people’s minds, the United Nations is associated with promoting peace, fostering development, feeding the hungry, providing peacekeeping troops, and defending human rights. But there are many other activities in the realm of social engineering at the UN that most people never hear about.
One example is that, for some time now, a number of UN documents dealing with social affairs have made references to the “right to sexual and reproductive health” or some variation thereof. Recently there was an aggressive attempt to extend the concept to the area of education.
A document was prepared by an “expert” on education, a Costa Rican by the name of Vernor Muñoz Villalobos, who was the appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education over the period July 2004 to July 2010. Rapporteurs are appointed by the UN to investigate, monitor and recommend solutions to certain human rights problems and are generally expected to be experts “of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights.”
Muñoz’s report was titled: Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education – Note by the Secretary General (UN document A/65/162) and presented to the Third Committee (which deals with social affairs) of the UN General Assembly on October 25th.
Despite its innocuous sounding title, the document in question proved to be, in the view of many observers, deceptive, devious and disingenuous. Its true nature is made clear in the following points from the introduction to the table of contents:
A. Patriarchalism and control of sexuality
B. Sexuality, health and education: three interdependent rights
C. Concept and scope of the human right to education for sexuality
D. The right to sexual education: its relationship to other rights and the need for a gender
and diversity perspective
The report turned out to be totally focussed on sexual education. There was not one sentence relating to education as it is commonly understood. The report promoted a concept of sexual education as certain effete UN elites would want to impose it on the entire global population, rich and poor alike.
This 21-page single-spaced report used the words “sexual” and “sexuality” a total of 233 times! This is in line with the elevation of the topic of sex by some UN bodies to the status of sacred cow or golden calf.
The report promotes universal sexual education with “special attention to diversity” — a euphemism for homosexuality — without any link at all to procreation. It also promotes “a right to family planning education” while denigrating parental rights and religious beliefs.
Religious schools, which have provided high-quality education to millions of children across the globe for centuries, are censured for providing sexual education tarnished by “undue ecclesiastical influence.” As a remedy, the report proposes “comprehensive sexual education from the outset” of schooling, to be continued in the form of lifelong education.
It also stresses the “importance of the sexual diversity approach”, rejects abstinence-only programs for failing to foster “informed and responsible decision-making” and promotes “high-quality scientific information that is unprejudiced and age-appropriate”. According to the report, “sexual education should be considered a right in itself”. In subtle ways it also promotes the concept of “the right to pleasure” through sexual activity.
As part of a regional survey of sex education, the report states that in Europe there are 19 countries with some form of compulsory sexual education in schools. Programs, it says, start at age five in Portugal and at 13 in the Netherlands. Some observers might have taken some comfort from the fact that at least in Portugal the topic “is dealt with in courses on biology, geography, philosophy and religion…”
Interestingly, the terms “mothers” and “fathers” are used only once each and “parents” three times in ways that are negative: some parents, the report notes, create a “barrier” if they choose to exempt their children from sexual education in schools, but parents are nevertheless expected to “provide appropriate direction and guidance on sexual and reproductive matters” that does not interfere with the “rights of children”.
After the report was presented at the Third Committee meeting, 19 delegations spoke, some representing entire regional groups. Indeed, the spokespersons for the African Group, the Caribbean Community, the League of Arab States, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) resoundingly denounced the report.
The delegate from Malawi spoke first, representing the African Group of states, and unequivocally denounced the report in some of the strongest language ever heard at the UN. The delegate was “alarmed” that the rapporteur went “beyond the scope of his mandate”, that he was “selective” and expressed his own point of view, and that he was “in violation of the code of conduct” that applies to special rapporteurs. He stated that the report was an attempt to create a new human right and pointed out that the rapporteur personally supported the 2006 Yogyakarta Principles on sexual orientation and inserted his personal opinion into his report in violation of his mandate. He concluded that the African Group “regrets this report.”
The next response, from Trinidad and Tobago on behalf of CARICOM (the Caribbean Community), was also strongly negative. It took “umbrage” at the report, stated that the rapporteur had tried to “usurp” the rights of parents, said that he was in “contravention” of his mandate, and had “deprived us of information” that apparently he should have gathered. The report was deemed “unacceptable.”
Another strong statement came from Mauretania on behalf of the Arab Group rejecting the report “categorically”.
Morocco spoke for the OIC stating that the rapporteur had violated his “mandate and code of conduct” and made an attempt to “redefine” the right to education, concluding that “the OIC cannot accept this report”.
After all this emotion, the European Union delegate issued a wishy-washy statement while the United Kingdom representative actually attempted to defend the report and oppose the “attackers”. Then, in what must have been the shortest speech ever delivered at the UN, the United States representative took less than a minute to support the right to education, mention that USAID had spent over $1 billion on education, disagree with some of the report’s conclusions and assert that “there is no internationally agreed human right to sexual education.”
Despite the overwhelming rejection by a large number of countries, this document on the “right to (sexual) education” will remain in the annals of the UN, perhaps to be quoted in future UN documents by like minded zealots promoting the same non-existent “rights.”
The UN clearly isn’t just about promoting peace and development. It is also about advocating sexual deviance in direct violation of human dignity.
Vincenzina Santoro is an international economist. She represents the American Family Association of New York at the United Nations