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  Bad Faith at the UN: Drawing Back the Curtain on the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute
04/05/01

The following is from Catholics for a Free Choice. Website details for further information appear at the end of this comment.

As a body established to maintain global peace, the United Nations is a place where all voices are meant to be heard. The freedom to address issues on an international stage has allowed nongovernmental organizations to educate UN missions on a range of issues, especially women's empowerment, education, and the importance of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
But the freedom to speak at the UN can be abused. As a new report by Catholics for a Free Choice reveals, one of the chief abusers of this freedom is the conservative, anti reproductive rights organization Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (CAFHRI).

Bad Faith at the UN: Drawing Back the Curtain on the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute examines the history, activities and finances of CAFHRI and provides some disturbing conclusions. The short history of CAFHRI is marked by a series of half-truths and hidden facts. Internal and external documents reveal that CAFHRI deliberately sought to hide the fact that it was established by Human Life International (HLI)-an anti-abortion organization that has been charged with anti-Semitism for claiming that Jews run the abortion industry-and Human Life International-Canada, after HLI was denied UN accreditation. Forces behind CAFHRI also concealed its true primary purpose-to serve as a resource for the Holy See at the UN. While CAFHRI currently does not have consultative status at the United Nations, UN officials confirm that CAFHRI has requested ECOSOC status, even though Ruse admits to holding only a "veneer of support" for the UN and boasts of actions that "defy every UN rule on lobbying."

Bad Faith also examines the disturbing warlike mindset that permeates CAFHRI's thinking and actions. Proclaiming that God is on their side, CAFHRI strategically seeks to demonize the voices of those at the UN who seek to craft ethically sound international policy on sexual and reproductive health and rights. What is even more shocking is that this mindset exists within the Holy See delegation as well, where, according to Austin Ruse, a priest member of the delegation guaranteed Ruse absolution if he "take out" Hillary Clinton.

CFFC President Frances Kissling states, "Religious groups have been active in the UN from its founding. For the most part they have participated in good faith and they have contributed much. They have respected the plural, secular and tolerant nature of the UN. It would be unfortunate if CAFHRI, wearing the mantle of religion, were allowed to continue its efforts to create a Holy War in the international institution most identified with peace."

For more information or a copy of the report see www.catholicsforchoice.org

 
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