Human Rights - Reports on the 3rd Committee - UN New York

25 November 2022
Peter Smith: "This system of human rights is not very compatible with a Christian world view. The Bible is mainly about our responsibilities, a concept completely lacking in this so called “rights-based approach” to different issues".

November 2022
By: Peter Smith

On 10th December 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was agreed and published in France. The negotiations were chaired by Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt. This was done in the ashes of WW2. It was hoped that this system of rights and an international body called the United Nations might prevent war and other terrible things like genocide. They have not succeeded in these two areas. But even so its a neutral place where countries can meet and perhaps resolve their differences.

This system of human rights is not very compatible with a Christian world view. The Bible is mainly about our responsibilities, a concept completely lacking in this so called “rights-based approach” to different issues. Having 25 years of experience at the UN I have heard this “rights-based approach” being proposed for sinful behaviour time and time again. Abortion is a human wrong not a human right.

My good friends Douglas Sylva and Susan Yoshihara (C-Fam) published a white paper called “ Rights by Stealth – The role of UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies in the campaign for an international Right to Abortion”  Ref :

This paper was first printed in 2007 and updated in 2009.

I will quote the abstract for this paper below :

In the mid-1990s, a group of UN officials and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) gathered to formulate a strategy to promote a controversial international social policy agenda by reinterpreting existing human rights treaties to give them new meanings. At the heart of this strategy was a four-step process to use the six United Nations (UN) human rights treaty monitoring bodies and an interlocking network of UN agencies, UN officials, and NGOs to create an international right to abortion. In the decade that has followed, UN member nations have allowed the strategy to develop to an extensive degree, despite the fact that it undermines their own laws. This study examines the reasons why the process has been able to advance, and analyzes the way the strategy has undermined the treaty monitoring system and challenged the credibility of the international human rights regime.

Last week I was monitoring, on-line, the Report of the Human Rights Council.(HRC).The current president of the council is Ambassador Federico Villegas from Argentina. Some 25 years ago this country was very conservative, but now they are quite trendy.  Around 24 countries spoke mostly in their individual capacity, some are recorded below.

Chile – Want to protect especially LGBTQ…  refugees.

Cameroon – Delegate gave a brilliant intervention begging that they focus on issues that unite us not what divide. For example freedom of the press, abolishing  slavery etc. She suggested having an International Migrant Day each year. I was shocked to hear some sensible comments from the 3rd committee.

Argentina – Was pushing diversity and gender equality, weasel words.

Cuba – They are still complaining about the US embargo. They should not have stolen US businesses during their communist revolution.

Ethiopia – Does not like country specific resolutions, especially the ones critical of them

Malawi – Spoke of contemporary forms of slavery, trafficking in persons, requested help from neighbouring countries. This is a very serious problem.

Nigeria – Spoke about the need for treaty body review panels to stick to the clear provision of each treaty, more later.

El Salvador – Spoke of dis-information on the internet. They did not say who determined right from wrong information.

Netherlands – Wants more NGO involvement in the process, but perhaps only certain types of NGOs, not the pro-family one !

Italy – Wants support for LGBTQI people and wants to condemn child , early and forced marriages. I am sure this intervention was NOT authorised by the new conservative government of Italy.

The president of the HRC Amb Villegas then spoke about how he liked to have NGOs work alongside him, to report on state problems. He talked about how there was once just the right of states, but now the rights of citizens. He did not mention anything about responsibility. He talked about parity on compliance committee panels, even though 70% are now women.

General debate

Around 20 countries made interventions at this time, the more interesting comments are recorded below.

India – Want a right to development. I have always wondered what this looks like. Britain and the Netherlands never talked about such a right when they developed.

Cuba – Also wants a right to development (Throwing off communism would help)

Iran – Does not like country specific resolutions especially ones against Iran.

Nigeria – This was the best intervention all day. The delegate strongly pressed for national sovereignty, that LGBT rights are not recognised and that the compliance committees go beyond their mandates. He referred to these “so-call rights “. Then he mentioned family and religious values. He condemned the attempt to make abortion a human right, and as abortion is not even mentioned in all these treaties the so-called experts should stick to what is in the treaty. One of the best interventions I have heard at the UN. I wished I had been in New York to shake his hand and congratulate him, Nigeria is always strong on these matters.

Bangladesh – Want a special rapporteur for older people and one for leprosy.

Indonesia – Wanted polarisation to stop and for common ground to be respected. A good intervention.

So it’s the same old story at the UN , the big strong developed countries trying to push their secular system on the  rest of the world. The big crime in poor countries is where women still die in childbirth and all the rich countries prioritise for them with aid  is abortion and gay rights.

Peter Smith


Ref :T116

Find below more reports on the 3rd Committee - Social, Humanitarian & Cultural Issues