Earlier this week, PAI staff Kate Tibone and Sarah Haddock were in New York City, attending the UN Special Session on Children. This meeting is a follow-up to review progress made in the past 5 years toward meeting the goals of the outcome document, “A World Fit for Children.“
Youth participation on sexual and reproductive rights advocacy was supported by the International Women’s Health Coalition‘s advanced training, called “Advocacy in Practice“. This training was the third in a series; the first was held at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) last year, in which former PAI intern, Beth Orero participated, and the second training was held a few months ago at the Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSH) in Hyderabad, India.
All of these efforts have really helped promote active and engaged
youth participation in international advocacy efforts around sexual and
reproductive health. In particular, the group of young advocates at the
Special Session drafted a proposal of alternative language to the
political declaration that addresses the specific SRHR needs of
children and adolescents, and particularly young girls.
However, the meeting did not provided much of an opportunity for
promoting this alternative declaration, mostly because negotiations on
the declaration closed early and most governments were less than
receptive to introducing new language. Unfortunately, the agreed upon
political declaration is intentionally short and uncontroversial.
In a vain attempt at reaching out to the U.S. government, a group of
American SRR advocates met with U.S. Mission to the U.N. Staff, Laurie Lerner
Shestack. As expected, it was a pretty disheartening conversation. She
had a few notable quotes:
- “It is the position of the U.S. government that children should not engage in sex before marriage.”
- “Gay people do not have children.”
- “We have not consulted any NGOs in the process, but if we were to
consult, we have very close relationships with Right to Life and Focus on the Family. These kind of close relationships are created at a higher level in Washington D.C.”
- “My advice to you all: Wait 11 months and keep talking to the Canadian and New Zealand delegation”
With that said, we keep actively advocating while we wait for things to change!
Kate Tibone, Public Policy Coordinator
Sarah Haddock, Research Assistant