Revealed! Why UN Women Stay Silent On Forced Sterilizations

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Image: @tibettruth

It’s arrived, the final day of the United Nations Commission On The Status Of Women (UNCSW) meeting in New York. A lot of folks will have seen, or been following our activism in exposing and challenging the censorship, which this event regularly imposes upon the subject of forced sterilizations. We’ve been greatly assisted in bringing awareness of this matter by our many friends on Twitter. Thanks to such solidarity and 24/7 action from @tibettruth people across social media are discovering the hypocrisy, denial and evasion, from organizations who declare themselves as champions of women’s human rights. There remains however the big question, and we are asked a lot about this, why is this horrifying example of violence against women being ignored?

Well here’s our take, drawn from years of campaigning, research, writing and lobbying on this issue. There’s a number of forces at work within the annual session of the UNCSW and the parallel Non-Government Forum which ensure the topic is not included.

1) A prevailing belief, though not often allowed expression, in which family-planning (including the brutal and coercive kind) is seen as enabling women a greater chance to enjoy more fully educational and employment opportunities and economic progress.

2) There’s also an unthinking subscription to the flawed and outdated Malthusian demographic model linking ‘sustainable’ population levels to resources. Those following this concept naturally find all sorts of rationalizations to reducing the global population. The result is a dangerous and delusional tolerance towards coercive birth control, on the basis of ‘the greater good’!

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3) On the surface there’s an almost convincing display of unity of purpose from those in attendance, everyone seems to be ‘on message’ (so much so that the jargon and slogans which endlessly fill the cavernous interiors of the UN seem to be engineered!) But below the collectively synchronized rhetoric there’s a noticeable fragmentation. Or perhaps compartmentalization would best describe it. A developed sense of the myopic with each NGO so consumed with its own agenda or topic that it becomes either indifferent too and or ignorant of any issue beyond the lens of its preoccupation.

4) Lastly, and perhaps the most influencing factor which censors any mention of forced sterilizations, is that exerted by a hierarchy. We’ve seen it operate over a few years now, populated by a handful of politically positioned individuals. They occupy key roles within both the UNCSW and UN Women and are supported by what is effectively an executive cabal drawn from a range of leading Women’s groups. The record of these organizations concerning the subject of forced sterilizations is evidence enough that they are extremists, who have long ago abandoned any sense of conscience or integrity in exchange for the benefits of career, status and self-promotion. With such a mindset steering events is it any wonder that the suffering inflicted by forced sterilizations is willfully ignored?

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We have been in and out of the CSW61 since March 11, it’s not been easy witnessing the censorship and manipulation which operates, yet clearly there are some well motivated people who attend. Others are so carried away by the event that no critical assessment of procedures is possible. Many are distracted by their selective cause, while some  wander from meeting to meeting in wide-eyed naivety, while the anointed few guarantee the chosen agenda is promoted. Everywhere the officially approved sound-bytes are repeated, more in an act of faith than critical examination, in that sense it has all the superficiality and troubling phoniness of a cult. The adherents of this ideology are convinced that in following the creed (packaged, marketed and sold by the UNCSW) they are advancing women’s rights. Maybe they are. But only those meeting the approval of, and conforming to, the politically correct orthodoxy!

Organized Hypocrisy Of UN Women Again Selects To Ignore Forced Sterilizations

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For the next eleven days our activism will be focused upon the United Nations Commission On The Status Of Women (UNCSW) and associated women’s Non-Governmental Organizations.  Timed to cover the sixty-first session of the UNCSW that commences at UN headquarters, New York from 13 to 24 March 2017.

As our friends and subscribers to our Blog will know we’ve consistently exposed and challenged the UNCSW and women’s NGOs for their refusal to oppose and condemn forced sterilizations. In particular their silence on China’s coercive population control program. Anyone supporting human rights would be troubled that a UN body and NGOs,  apparently dedicated to defending and promoting women’s rights, selects to ignore these harrowing violations. Yet that’s precisely what is happening.

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Something is very wrong indeed especially when their collective silence and evasion on this issue is in opposition to the findings and concerns of other divisions of the United Nations! Unlike the UNCSW (and @UN_Women) the UN’s Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) is sufficiently concerned about the plight of women suffering under the harrowing realities of China’s population policies to take action. It also is not inhibited to express its concerns:

“In November 2015, the UN Committee against Torture conducted its fifth periodic review of China’s compliance with the Convention.18 In its concluding observations, the Committee stated its concerns about China’s coercive implementation of the population policy, such as coerced sterilization and forced abortion, and the lack of information on investigations into such allegations” (Source: CECC Report 2016).

We would like to thank the UN Committee Against Torture for its concern on this most disturbing of human rights violations and welcome their decision to investigate and challenge the Chinese authorities on this matter. A few months earlier they had requested China’s regime provide information on ‘‘the total number of investigations or prosecutions launched against officials and other persons” with respect to coercion within China’s population program. Responding during October 2015 China’s government failed to furnish the Committee with the relevant data sought by UNCAT. No surprise there then!

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This clear refusal to comply with a official UN inquiry into reports of violations imposed by China’s population control program provides further evidence (not that much more be needed) that women in China remain subject to a range of draconian measures that contravene a number of human rights principles and breach the United Nations’ Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women on 15 September 1995, endorsed by UN General Assembly resolution 50/203 of 22 December 1995).

That document, to which China is a signatory, states that governments which participated in the Fourth World Conference on Women reaffirmed their commitment to: ‘‘Ensure the full implementation of the human rights of women and of the girl child as an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms; . . .’’ (para. 9) and ‘‘are convinced that . . . [t]he explicit recognition and reaffirmation of the right of all women to control all aspects of their health, in particular their own fertility, is basic to their empowerment; . . .’’ (para. 17).

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The UNCSW and its NGOs may be seen across social media and the internet as being deeply motivated to ensure that women are empowered in all sorts of areas, education, employment, social mobility and human rights. Indeed who would oppose such calls. The priority theme for 2017 is ‘economic empowerment’, no doubt limitless energy and arguments will be advanced to champion that cause. However their take on empowerment does not extend to a woman having a right not be forcibly sterilized,  they do not advocate what any right-thinking person would consider as constituting a fundamental freedom. Even when their prestigious UN colleagues in the Committee Against Torture document their concerns on the subject and expose the Chinese authorities blatant refusal to cooperate, they remain mute!

Meanwhile the parallel NGO Forum, which runs as ‘Side Events’ over the same dates is hosting a series of meetings, presentations and discussions. These for the most part will mirror the theme of ‘economic empowerment’ but other issues feature, including: ‘intimate partner violence’, ‘violence against women in peacebuilding’, ‘preventing violence against women and girls in the digital age’, ‘femicide/gender related killing of women’, violence against women politicians’, and the global response to ‘eliminating female genital mutilation’. Now while these are worthy causes and to be supported the key point is that the very same community of women’s NGOs that will be actively engaged in such issues, has once again chosen not to give exposure to the forced sterilization of women. Yet those organizations are very aware of those atrocities, especially with regard to China, despite such knowledge they have once more cast a veil of indifference over the subject. This censorship and denial occurs each year at the UNCSW and NGO Forum, making a mockery of the claim that such bodies are committed champions of women’s human rights. If truth be known it is an agenda, or ideology which is being supported, not human rights as a universal principle, hence the politically correct themes and issue selectivity on display.

 

 

 

 

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Women’s NGOs Bang The Drum On Reproductive Rights YET Stay Silent On China’s Forced Sterilizations!

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What are reproductive rights? Well if you ask the majority of women attending #csw61 in New York, (a back-slapping festival hosted by the United Nations Commission On The Status On Women-UNCSW), the response would focus on making available family planning education and resources. Which by extension enables a woman to determine freely when to give birth and how many children she wishes. The consequences of such provision include improved health, along with economic and social benefits for women currently denied such choices, that access to family planning. Not only that but in providing family planning to women it seems we can also tackle the major environmental issue of climate change, a topic that has been woven into the reproductive rights argument at recent UN discussions, partly as a political move to enhance the arguments being presented and as an encouragement for further support from within the environmental movement. If you had any doubts at the global impact of family planning as a supposed panacea to the world’s primary challenge be convinced by the words of Huffington Post contributor Diane MacEachern.

“Because ensuring that women have full reproductive rights creates one of the most desirable “two-fers” on the planet. Complete access to voluntary family planning is among the quickest, simplest, and most affordable ways to improve women’s quality of life. It is also one of the most direct, immediate and cost-effective ways to reduce climate change. In fact, studies show that slowing population growth by giving women access to the contraception they already want could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 8 and 15 percent — roughly equivalent to ending all tropical deforestation.” (Source: Women Leave Rio+20 Motivated to Galvanize Sustainability Around Family Planning and Reproductive Rights. 7.02.2012

It is an attractive and persuasive argument and no doubt embraced with zeal by environmentalists and feminists, yet in the clamor to press the logic and justice of such reasoning the debates at UN forums, while articulating reproductive rights consistently fail to address a hugely important element of women’s reproductive freedoms, a woman’s right to be able to determine, without coercion, the spacing and number of children. Now this right (which was formalized at the ICPD and is reflected in CEDAW) is purely theoretical for the countless millions of women who suffer China’s forced sterilizations and forced abortions, for them there are no reproductive freedoms, only a highly draconian and totalitarian system that enforces a range of coercive measures upon women to make them comply with the dictates of the state. Should financial penalties, arbitrary arrest, confiscation of property or loss of employment and housing rights fail women face the horrors of forced sterilization.

Unfortunately, as occurs regularly at the UNCSW, this gross violation of women’s human rights remains a taboo subject, marginalized,evaded and callously ignored by women’s NGOs during debates on reproductive rights. Yet without ensuring human rights are central to the provision of population control policies and practice, arguing for greater reproductive choice and services is divested of credibility and ethical authority. Yes reproductive rights are advanced by providing family planning resources and associated education programs, but they must also include the right of a woman not to be viciously assaulted by the state, denied control over her own body and suffer harrowing medical atrocities under the name of population control. Nor is it enough to claim such rights are enshrined in international statutes such as CEDAW and the ICPD while China enforces a program that so violently trashes those principles, yet the champions of reproductive freedoms offer not a word of opposition or condemnation. Informed and free choice yes, education and access to family planning by all means, but should not those who campaign on such issues be demanding those freedoms and services are extended to women suffering China’s population control policies?