Civil Rights Fight Against Forced Abortion at the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women

March 26, 2013 — kryanbarger


This release contains photos of an aborted baby murdered under China's One-Child Policy. The Chinese government requires women to pay for their own forced abortions. If the woman cannot pay or refuses to pay, the corpse of her aborted child is placed next to her on the bed for her to dispose of. These photos are not dramatized and are intended only to be an accurate representation of the horrific violation of basic human rights ongoing in China.



Civil Rights Fight Against Forced Abortion at the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women  

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) has released an advance "unedited" version of the Agreed Conclusions from its 57th Session, which met in New York from March 4-15 under the theme: Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls.  Jubilee Campaign's Law of Life Project (JC-LOLP) is happy to note that among the conclusions, the CSW agreed to (emphasis added):

Condemn and take action to prevent violence against women and girls in health care settings, including sexual harassment, humiliation and forced medical procedures, or those conducted without informed consent, and which may be irreversible, such as forced hysterectomy, forced caesarean section, forced sterilization, forced abortion, and forced use of contraceptives, especially for particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged women and girls, such as those living with HIV, women and girls with disabilities, indigenous and afro-descendent women and girls, pregnant adolescents and young mothers, older women, and women and girls from national or ethnic minorities.

Indeed, this is encouraging news. 

Beginning with JC-LOLP's successful work last Spring supporting freedom for Chinese dissident human rights activist, Chen Guangchen, and later UNHCR refugee asylum for Guo Yanling, followed by the July 31, 2012 filing of our 'Coalition to End Violence Against Pregnant Women' Complaint against the People's Republic of China (PRC) on behalf of 37 Chinese women (including Guo Yanling) forcibly aborted and/or sterilized for violations of China's so-called 'One-Child Policy' (COCP), continuing with JC-LOLP's December 7, 2012 United Nations Economic and Social Council Statement providing four recommendation
Sam Casey meeting with the UN Ambassador from El Salvador
Sam Casey (far right) meeting with the UN Ambassador from El Salvador (center)

to the UNCSW for ending COCP, as well as the publication of our December 10, 2012 "China's Brutal One Child Policy Must End Now: An Open Letter to New Chinese President, Xi Jinping," JC-LOLP attorneys have been trying to raise awareness of the issue of forced abortion, an issue which all too frequently has been swept under UNCSW's rug to be dealt with at a "later date."  Indeed, JC-LOLP attorneys Sam Casey and Amy Pedagno spent days at the UNCSW's 57th Session working with United Nations delegations, and making presentations at related parallel events, all with the view to getting the above agreed conclusion.

    At the same time, we are reminded that broad and generalized "agreed statements" made in the international forum-while important-are only a first step.  The key to eliminating forced abortions is to hold the actors who mandate them accountable.  In places like China, this enforcement can be difficult.  Firstly, China's One-Child Policy officially does not include using forced abortion as an enforcement technique.  And secondly, given China's economic prowess, the question arises of whether other states will be willing to hold China accountable for these egregious human rights violations.  Nonetheless, it is JC-LOLP's stated legal position that the PRC's One Child Policy, as it is in fact currently being implemented, violates the Convention against Torture to which the PRC is a signatory.

Feng Jianemi
Feng Jianmei

     The Economist recently published an article about reforming China's One-Child Policy.   The article suggests that the One-Child Policy may soon be on its way out the door, pointing primarily to China's aging population as the cause.  LOLP is not as optimistic as the author of the article that the policy is on its way out.  We reiterate our belief that relaxing the policy into a "Two Child" Policy is not a desired outcome, as it does nothing to curb the practice of forced abortions and forced sterilizations.  Additionally, we note that the article fails to mention the nearly 40 million missing girls who have been aborted in China since the beginning of the One Child Policy.

    Encouragingly, however, the article did mention the practice of forced abortion in conjunction with enforcement of the One Child Policy.  Slowly but surely word about these heinous abuses are being spread.  Raising public awareness of this issue is a vital component to ending the practice of forced abortion around the globe.  States may be unwilling to put pressure on China to end its Policy without a similar pressure from their own constituents.

    The Agreed Conclusions from the CSW are a good thing.  It means the issue of forced abortion is not being ignored.  It means that on the floor of the UN, delegates from around the globe voted in agreement with the fact that forced abortions are a form of violence against women and girls.  We must continue to put pressure on our own governments and the government of China to not only acknowledge that these forced abortions are taking place but to make a serious effort to end them.

Jubilee Campaign's Law of Life Project (JC-LOLP) has received a generous matching challenging grant that will provide $1 for every $1 up to $100,000 we receive from a new donor or over and above what a current donor donated last year. We are trying to match this challenge grant as soon as possible.  Can you help?  Our work cannot continue without the prayers and financial support of friends like yourself.