- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The assertions made by Thomas J. Miller, president of the U.N. Association of the USA, are disingenuous at best (“Trick or treaty,” Letters, Monday).

While he correctly states that the recommendations of U.N. treaty-monitoring bodies are nonbinding, he fails to mention that their comments to reporting countries, and most especially their general recommendations on the treaties themselves, are used by human rights lawyers and domestic judges to claim that new and binding international norms exist.

For instance, while the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women is silent on abortion, its treaty-monitoring committee has read abortion into the document and directed 90-plus countries to change their laws in accordance with this rewriting of the document. These new recommendations and supposedly new “norms” have been used explicitly by the high court in Colombia to overturn the country’s longstanding laws forbidding abortion.

Judges of the Mexican Supreme Court have used the same arguments in upholding legal abortion. This is a violation not only of national sovereignty but strikes at the heart of the democratic process. The United States should never allow our domestic social policy debates to be directed even partially by bodies of nearly anonymous U.N. “experts.”



Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute


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