Family & Life Defends Right to Life at UN


The United Nations Committee on Human Rights begins on Friday its discussion of a draft “General Comment” that seeks to redefine the right to life – excluding the unborn and adults who are “mortally wounded or terminally ill”. A legal team from Family & Life will attend the meeting and try to have the objectionable language removed.


The UN Human Rights Committee is charged with monitoring compliance with the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. This includes, under Article 6, the Right to Life. Periodically, the Committee produces a General Comment which guides its interpretation of a given Article. In this case, however, what the Committee is proposing goes far beyond interpretation and seeks to alter radically the meaning of the protected right. This is something the Committee does not have the right to do, since the essential meaning of the Convention was agreed by the sovereign states that negotiated it and only the states parties can change it.


Family & Life has made two written submissions to the UN Committee in relation to the proposed General Comment. It has reminded the Committee of the important principles of international law governing the interpretation of treaties and the light shed on the intended meaning of the Right to Life by the negotiations between states parties at the time of the Convention’s drafting. F&L has warned the Committee that, in its present form, the General Comment is “likely to be used to exert improper pressure on States parties which seek to protect the right to life of unborn children, and to promote positions supporting abortion contrary to agreed treaty language.”


A record number of pro-life submissions were made to the Committee on the draft General Comment. A number of states parties also made submissions, but Ireland was not among them.

Family & Life. October 25.

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