New Youth Convention Threatens to Promote Homosexuality, Abortion

With the recent addition of Bolivia, seven counties have now ratified a treaty called the Ibero-American Convention on the Rights of Youth (ICRY), a document that worries Latin American social conservatives for its not-so-veiled promotion of radical social policies. The document includes references to “sexual and reproductive health” as well as “sexual orientation.”
Representatives from 14 Latin countries and the two major Iberian nations, Spain and Portugal, signed the Convention in Badajoz, Spain, in October 2005.  The Organización Iberoamericana de Juventud (OIJ) spearheaded the drafting of the ICRY, with backing from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and Spain’s socialist government.     
In accordance with its provisions, the treaty went into effect on March 1 after Costa Rica became the fifth country to adopt the document. In addition to Costa Rica, the other countries that have formally ratified the ICRY are Bolivia, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Spain, and Uruguay.           
The Convention has met some resistance, however. The Peruvian Congress rejected the treaty over concerns that “sexual orientation” language was a backdoor attempt to soften resistance to homosexual “marriage.” Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador and Andorra have thus far refrained from signing ICRY, and Mexican pro-family groups are running a campaign urging Mexican President Felipe Calderón that the government not ratify it.    
The Madrid Declaration, a separate document issued in November 2005 to promote “sexual and reproductive health rights” signed by the OIJ, specifically referenced implementing ICRY’s sexual education provision. Article 23 of the ICRY states that sex education will be imparted at “all educational levels,” oriented “to full acceptance and identity [of sexuality], as well as the prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases.” 
Latin American pro-lifers are wary of inclusion of a right to “sexual and reproductive health.” The term has been used by UN agencies and powerful non-governmental organizations as a stalking horse for promoting abortion, even though no international treaty has defined reproductive health synonymously with abortion.
Under the ICRY, countries are required to report every two years to OIJ’s Secretary General. There is, however, no formal compliance monitoring mechanism, and ICRY’s juridical scope is not clearly defined. Supporters nevertheless see it as a “legal tool” for young people whose rights under the Convention have been breached. On the eve of the Convention’s entry into force, Costa Rica’s ambassador to Spain, Melvin Alfredo Saenz, reportedly told OIJ’s Secretary General Eugenio Ravinet Muñoz that his nation was fulfilling both an “ethical obligation” and a “juridical duty” in ratifying the ICRY.      
An upcoming July Andean region youth and human rights gathering in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, sponsored by the Comisión Andina de Juristas and the Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, is expected to focus on how to utilize ICRY as a juridical instrument. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, representatives from government, civil society and academia will obtain specialized training in human rights implementation using the ICRY.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Grace Harman

    “Sex education” leads to sexual experimentation and involvement for younger and younger children. This leads to promiscuity, and that spreads the many deseases that are now at epidemic proportions. Such education – unless it is about purity and abstinence – brings disease, unintended pregnancy, and abortion. It is not a good thing.
    Purity before marriage is an essential part of following God’s law and a proper basis for life and happiness – that God wants us to have.