18 Sep Recap of United Nations Experience: Beware, but Be There
Recap of United Nations Experience: Beware, but Be There
September 17, 2007
Cecil and Linda Ash, 2007 recipients of the United Families International Champions of the Family Award, had their first experience in New York City in 2004 as delegates to a national political convention. They had been very active in the Arizona chapter of United Families International as well. So, it only made good sense when they were asked to attend a conference at the United Nations while they were in the Big Apple.
That conference led Cecil and Linda to an eventual two-and-a-half year commitment to live in Manhattan and represent UFI at the United Nations.
Cecil and Linda began attending conferences at the U.N., including the Commission on the Status of Women, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), a disability conference and the International Conference on Population and Development. Almost immediately, Linda reported, “My husband and I are seeing and hearing things that are so foreign to us. I’m becoming quickly aware of how much the institution of the family is truly under attack here at the United Nations.”
The most enjoyable part of their U.N. experience was working with the pro-family/pro-life coalition of individuals from NGOs (non-governmental organizations) who faithfully observe conference proceedings. Among the coalition are individuals from the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the National Right to Life Committee, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, The Heritage Foundation and others.
Cecil said, “It is enjoyable to have the support of like-minded people. There is a strong commitment by those attempting to support family values.”
The current U.S. administration is the coalition’s best ally. Muslim countries are supportive of families, as are most African countries, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
During their time in New York, the Ashes reported their activities and observations through the Ash Archives on the UFI website. There were heart-wrenching stories of incredible suffering and hardship, as well as courageous opposition to powerful anti-family forces. Linda had the opportunity to address delegates attending the U.N. Disabilities Conference.
According to Cecil’s analysis, the U.N. bureaucracy is very anti-family. He said, “There are a lot of good nations whose people are pro-family. But I would characterize the policies and employees of the U.N. as anti-family.” Though New Zealand sends an anti-family delegation to the U.N., Cecil met wonderful people from that country who support our cause. Even so, the U.N. is generally anti-male and promotes policies trying to liberate women and children from parents. They have misidentified the solution, which should be appropriate protection for women. The U.N. tends to minimize the role of the father in the household. It treats both parents as equals in all respects, failing to give appropriate recognition to the individual roll that each parent plays in family development.
Among the troubling things at the U.N., the Ashes are most concerned about CEDAW, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Commission on the Status of Women and the growing lack of transparency at the U.N.
“There is a tendency for more and more meetings to become closed to NGOs,” Cecil said. “Delegations don’t like our coalition listening in and taking action. We saw a big difference between our first and our third years there.” It used to be that all the meetings were open and now many are closed. A representative from The Heritage Foundation said there is an attempt to meet more often on the social issues in Geneva, Switzerland and other cities to hurt U.S. lobbying efforts, since many conservatives will have more difficulty traveling the farther distance.
Everybody Needs to be Involved
The Ashes believe it is important for parents to give time and attention to their own families to discuss current issues and problems.
“Be aware of what’s going on around the world,” Cecil said. “I think everybody needs to be involved, attend conferences, write letters to the editor and people of influence who support families.”
Now that they have concluded their important work at the United Nations, the Ashes believe that representing families at the U.N. should be a priority for those who believe in preserving and protecting the family unit. They are hopeful that another couple who believe in the importance of protecting the family at the U.N. level will step forward to continue this important watchdog position.
We welcome Cecil and Linda home and thank them for their service to the cause of the family unit.