February 6, 2014
Can the UN Change the Church’s Views on Abortion and Gay Rights?

On Wednesday, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a long report on the Vatican that has gotten attention for its sharp criticism of the Catholic Church’s response to clergy sex-abuse scandals. But perhaps more remarkably, the study also critiqued the Church’s stance on abortion and birth control.
Specifically, it recommended that the Holy See “overcome all the barriers and taboos surrounding adolescent sexuality that hinder their access to sexual and reproductive information, including on family planning and contraceptives,” and suggested the Vatican “review its position on abortion … with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted.” The committee also made broad criticisms of the Church’s posture toward LGBTQ families and children. The Holy See has responded with a statement defending the Church’s right to define its own religious beliefs and teachings.
The Vatican, which has “permanent observer” status at the UN, is a signatory to the UN’s 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child along with 193 countries and two island nations. Notably, the United States is one of three countries that haven’t ratified the treaty; the other two, Somalia and South Sudan, have both pledged to ratify the agreement soon.
So, if a UN committee finds Church teachings to violate the human rights of children, what can it do to the Holy See? The short answer: nothing.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Can the UN Change the Church’s Views on Abortion and Gay Rights?

On Wednesday, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a long report on the Vatican that has gotten attention for its sharp criticism of the Catholic Church’s response to clergy sex-abuse scandals. But perhaps more remarkably, the study also critiqued the Church’s stance on abortion and birth control.

Specifically, it recommended that the Holy See “overcome all the barriers and taboos surrounding adolescent sexuality that hinder their access to sexual and reproductive information, including on family planning and contraceptives,” and suggested the Vatican “review its position on abortion … with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted.” The committee also made broad criticisms of the Church’s posture toward LGBTQ families and children. The Holy See has responded with a statement defending the Church’s right to define its own religious beliefs and teachings.

The Vatican, which has “permanent observer” status at the UN, is a signatory to the UN’s 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child along with 193 countries and two island nations. Notably, the United States is one of three countries that haven’t ratified the treaty; the other two, Somalia and South Sudan, have both pledged to ratify the agreement soon.

So, if a UN committee finds Church teachings to violate the human rights of children, what can it do to the Holy See? The short answer: nothing.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

February 15, 2013
"The widely-cited 60,000 and 70,000 numbers bear some kind of statistical relationship to the true death count; though at present, we have no idea what that relationship is. The numbers are a reflection of what is currently known about the conflict — and not, in fact, a reflection of the realities of the conflict. […] A misleading number is now woven into a debate of global importance. The Syria conflict’s true humanitarian scope is being unintentionally yet insidiously distorted."

A U.N. statistic severely underestimates the number of people killed in Syria. Do they have an better alternatives — and would it even matter if they did?

March 21, 2011
Air Strikes on Libya:

After the U.N. Security Council authorized the use of “all necessary  measures” to protect civilians under attack by Libyan government forces,  U.S., British, and French forces launched fighter jets and missiles  over the weekend, attacking air defense facilities and troops loyal to  Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi near the rebel-held town of Benghazi.  Rebel fighters attempted to retake the town of Ajdabiya from Qaddafi’s  forces earlier today but were driven back by heavy fire.

See all 35 haunting photos at Alan Taylor’s In Focus. 
[Photo: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic]

Air Strikes on Libya:

After the U.N. Security Council authorized the use of “all necessary measures” to protect civilians under attack by Libyan government forces, U.S., British, and French forces launched fighter jets and missiles over the weekend, attacking air defense facilities and troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi near the rebel-held town of Benghazi. Rebel fighters attempted to retake the town of Ajdabiya from Qaddafi’s forces earlier today but were driven back by heavy fire.

See all 35 haunting photos at Alan Taylor’s In Focus.

[Photo: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic]

4:51pm
  
Filed under: In Focus Libya UN Qaddafi 
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