From Mr Peter Smith Sir, I have recently finished lobbying at the 27th Special Session of the General Assembly on"A World fit for Children" — in plain English the "Child Summit". The first preparatory meeting in the run up to this summit was in Feb 2001. This was just after the inauguration of President George W Bush.
The negotiations were bogged down for countless weeks. At the subsequent meeting in June 2001, a Canadian delegate let the cat out of the bag by saying that the term "reproductive health services" did include abortion. This led to pandemonium in the negotiating room. Then negotiations were held right up to the 10th Sept 2001. They were brought to a sudden halt by the terrorist attacks on the USA the next day.
So some weeks ago negotiations resumed. Again, there was deadlock over abortion related terms in the "Child Summit" document. The EU, Canada, Rio Group (Latin and central American) and a small group of pro-abortion countries led by Liechtenstein, were fighting against the USA, the Holy See and some developing countries (mainly Muslim). However, the US delegates were determined to represent their President to the best of their ability and were successful.
The final document does not promote abortion and many countries put in excellent reservations at the end, affirming the right to life from conception and stating that the family had the primary responsibility for their children.
It is a matter of concern that so much time and money is spent on such conferences : they are just an ideological battleground between conservative and liberal governments. Many millions of children could have been fed and immunised for the cost of such a conference. Instead we have a document that will in all probability benefit no child.
I am so grateful that pro-life President George W Bush is in charge of the USA. Our trust, however, should not be in princes but in the Lord God of the universe who holds the nations in the palm of His hand. I would like to thank the tens of thousands of Christian from around the world who prayed for us at his UN conference.
Yours faithfully PETER SMITH, chief administrative officer at the UN, SPUC