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Volver mayo_2014_ICS_Another U.N. Committee Runs Amuck

Carlos Beltramo, Proyecto 'Educación de la afectividad y de la sexualidad humana', Instituto Cultura y Sociedad, Universidad de Navarra

Steven Mosher, Presidente de Population Research Institute

Another U.N. Committee Runs Amuck

jue, 15 may 2014 08:36:00 +0000 Publicado en Population Research Institute

Believe it or not, the 10-member UN Committee Against Torture will spend the next two days, May 5-6, 2014, attacking the Catholic Church and its teachings.

It's not as if we haven't been warned. Last January, the chairwoman of another UN committee, this one the Committee on the Rights of the Child, "demanded" that the Holy See change Catholic doctrine to accept gay marriage, abortion, contraception, etc., because the current position of the Church supposedly violates the human rights of children. The Church was also roundly attacked for "allowing" priests to abuse children, ignoring the fact that the Holy See has taken significant steps to end these crimes. Indeed, at the time both Fr. Lombardi and Msgr. Tomasi, who serve in the Mission of the Holy See to the UN's Human Rights Commission, complained that the accusations not only exaggerate the problem, they ignore the numerous actions already taken by the Holy See to correct any abuses.

Now the same thing is happening again, this time under the auspices of another committee of the Human Rights Commission. The Committee Against Torture is criticizing the Holy See's initial report under the "Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment." The problem,according to the "Solidarity Center for Law and Justice", is that the Committee against Torture relies upon information that it receives from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights ("OHCHR") and various anti-Catholic NGOs.

What NGOs? The Center for Reproductive Rights, to name just one. And the CRR, as it is called, is in the forefront of groups which maintain that the position of the Catholic Church on contraception and abortion constitute a kind of torture.

The chairman of the Committee on Torture, Claudio Grossman, has a long history of abortion and population control activism. In 1994 he participated in a conference that examined possible strategies for ensuring that reproductive rights are respected in practice at the local, national, and international levels. (Gilbert, Lauren, Ann Shalleck, and Claudio Grossman. "Conference on the Interventional Protection of Reproductive Rights: Preface." American University Law Review 44, no. 4 (April 1995): 963-967.)

Such are the ideologues who are trying to influence the Committee on Torture to find that the Holy See is guilty of "torture." Like the Committee on the Rights of the Child, they are focusing on sexual abuse by priests (old news) and Catholic doctrine in the areas of abortion, contraception, and "gay marriage."

For instance, among the "Shadow Reports" available we find one by the so-called Child Rights International Network (CRIN) called "Sexual Abuse of Children by Catholic Clerics as a Form of Torture or Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment." The report accuses the Church of transferring priests who were accused of abuses, when in fact this has not been the policy for more than a decade now. They demand that representatives of civil society be allowed to participate in the Commission the Vatican has set up to address this kind of crime, ignoring the fact that the leading activist against sexual abuse, Marie Collins, has long served as a member of this commission.

Another example is the report submitted by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

And, finally, there is this from the Center for Reproductive Rights:

  • Urge the Holy See to review its position on abortion in order to permit abortion for women and girls, including when their lives and physical or mental health are at risk, when there is a non-viable fetus, when they are the victims of sexual violence, or any other circumstance in which they experience severe physical or mental pain or suffering.

  • Urge the Holy See to refrain from negatively interfering publicly or privately in women's and legislator's decisions concerning access to contraception and to support states as they attempt to align their policies on women's reproductive rights with their obligations under the Convention against Torture.

Clearly, such groups are virulently opposed to the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church relating to the issues of life, abortion, sexuality, sexual orientation, marriage, family, bioethics, or euthanasia. Some members of the Committee against Torture are as well, and are unable to impartially review the Holy See's report.

While these groups and individuals fabricate accusations against the Catholic Church, and stretch the meaning of "torture" to absurd dimensions, real people continue to suffer real torture.

Where is their outrage against the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of tens of thousands of Christians who are suffering around the world in countries like China and Iran? Where is their concern over the killing, kidnapping, or forced conversion of Christians in places like North Korea, Pakistan, and Nigeria?

How can any reasonable person support the actions of the Committee on Torture against the one institution--the Catholic Church--that more than any other over the centuries has helped to eliminate, or greatly reduce, slavery, human trafficking, prostitution, and violence by teaching us that all human beings have an innate dignity and worth?

The Committee on Torture has abandoned its mandate and fallen into the hands of those who are so blinded by their anti-people ideology and anti-Catholic bigotry that they no longer understand that all human rights are based on the first freedom: freedom of conscience.

By attacking the Catholic Church, the progenitor of freedom of conscience not just in the West, but globally, they are undercutting the very ground that they should be standing on.

If this is the best that the Committee on Torture can do, it ought to be disbanded.