A recent gathering of Latin America's top economic commission issued a document praising secularism, condemning "lesbophobia," calling for redistributive social systems, and liberally promoting sexual and reproductive rights.
Delegates from more than 30 Latin American and Caribbean countries attended the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean's (ECLAC) Eleventh Session of the Regional Conference on Women in Brazil. The purpose of the conference was to address gender equality and women's empowerment in economic terms. The delegates were mainly “gender” advisors, representing the government of member states.
The non-binding outcome document, which its proponents call “The Brasilia Consensus,” recommends that “at the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals, which will be held in September 2010, particular attention should be paid to target 5B concerning universal access to reproductive health.”
The document then goes on to recommend that states review laws that punish or “denounce” women who have undergone abortions. The subject of “denunciation” has become a legal tool used by abortion proponents to argue that abortion laws amount to “cruel and inhuman” treatment of women. One UN delegate told the Friday Fax that his country is already considering reviewing its strict abortion law based upon pressure from UN committees on the subject of “denunciation.”
The ECLAC document also calls on states to incorporate gender “self-identification” in census taking, and derides people who oppose homosexuality. Specifically, it refers to “the prevalence and persistence of violence against women, racism, sexism, impunity and lesbophobia, parity in all areas of decision-making and access to high-quality universal public services in the areas of public awareness, education and health-care, including sexual and reproductive health care.” The document also recommends that states establish national accounts to reimburse women for work done in the home.
In her keynote address at the ECLAC meeting, Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile, insisted that the state cannot be neutral, and called for majority-backed “political will” to enforce the consensus. Only four weeks prior to the ECLAC meeting, Bachelet was appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to join a special advocacy group to rouse support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Specifically, Bachelet was put in charge of overseeing international achievement of MDG 3 on gender equality.
One UN delegate told the Friday Fax that the document is already informing the negotiations on the MDG Review document, now under heated debate at the UN. That document is set to be adopted at a high level UN meeting in September.
The pro-life group, Movimento Defensa de la Vida criticized the “Brasilia Consensus” as drastically out of step with the laws, policies, and culture of the vast majority of ECLAC member states. The Buenos Aires Herald recently reported a survey showing that more 82 percent of Nicaraguans, 73 percent of Brazilians, 71 percent of Mexicans, and 66 percent of Chileans oppose legalizing abortion in almost all its forms.