29 April 2013: Pro-life lobbyists supporting African delegates at the United Nations Commission on Population and Development meeting in New York have been appalled at the veiled threats directed by Doris Mpoumou, a Planned Parenthood lobbyist, against Joy Ogwu, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative at the UN and the First Chair of the UN Women committee. Ambassador Ogwu’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the African Group, had objected to references to the terms ‘sexual and reproductive health services and reproductive rights’ in the commission’s draft document. (Please see below the full text of a letter from Ms Mpoumou to Ambassador Ogwu.)
Sharon Slater, President of Family Watch International, a pro-life/pro-family organisation, said: “Abortion is illegal in Nigeria, as well as in other parts of Africa, so Nigerian delegates are entirely right to tell the UN that they cannot agree to documents that espouse concepts such as ‘reproductive health services’ and ‘reproductive rights’ which are interpreted by many as including abortion.”
These terms are also interpretated by radical lobbyists to include same-sex marriage, explicit sex education and legalised prostitution.
Mrs Slater continued: “Killing the unborn is never a justifiable act, let alone a human right. Besides, Nigeria’s high maternal mortality rate will not be curbed by promoting abortion, as many western countries and organisations demand. Effective action to reduce maternal mortality requires better pre-natal care, more midwives and trained birth attendants, and improved access to emergency obstetric care when problems arise in labour. This is why mothers and babies die, and promoting abortion will not save lives.”
“Threatening delegates from developing countries who resist the western anti-life agenda, promoted by elitist western governments and their pet groups, is a contemptible strategy – against democracy and all the values of the UN”, concluded Mrs Slater.
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Letter from Doris Mpoumou, International Advocacy Officer, International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR), to Ambassador Joy Ogwu, 25 April 2013:
Dear Ambassador Ogwu,
We commend you for the leadership role that Nigeria has taken in advancing women’s rights within the United Nations. We are particularly proud of your efforts, as the first chair of UN Women, to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. As you know, achieving gender equality and empowerment of women depend on the full realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
As a result, we are writing to express our concern about the position taken by Nigeria during the 46th Session of the Commission on Population and Development. We are particularly concerned about the fact that Nigeria has called for the bracketing of all language around sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The government of Nigeria has reported to CRC that the maternal mortality rate is estimated to be 800/100,000 live births (2009). According to a recent Lancet study (2010), Nigeria has the second highest number of maternal deaths in the world, accounting for more than 10% of maternal deaths worldwide. The study further showed that Nigeria’s maternal mortality ratio has substantially increased between 1990 and 2008. (2010) Also, the 2008 National Demographic Health Survey found that among women aged 15 to 49, girls between 15 and 19 were the least likely to know of a contraceptive method.
As a signatory to Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of women in Africa, we trust that your government will commit to a positive resolution that reaffirm women’s rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment. We stand ready to work with you to ensure that Nigeria continues to serve as leader in advancing sexual and reproductive rights and health within the United Nations.
Doris Mpoumou | International Advocacy Officer International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR)
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