The Organization of American States (OAS) held its 44th General Assembly from Monday, June 2 to Thursday, June 5, 2014, in Asuncion, Paraguay. The theme of this year’s assembly was “Development with Social Inclusion.” Several representatives of Human Life International were on hand to bring the pro-life and pro-family message to this important international event.
HLI Regional Director for Latin America Mario Rojas and Richard Izquierdo, President of Generation for Life in Paraguay, served as HLI’s chief representatives during the assembly. HLI’s representative to the United Nations Mary Langlois and I were also in attendance. We were joined by approximately 50 pro-life and pro-family representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs). While it is true that those in attendance who pushed for abortion, “gay marriage” and other threats to the family far outnumbered us, the pro-family CSOs continued to make gains for the second year in a row.
There were a record number of questions on life and family issues asked by pro-life CSO representatives at the forum for CSO dialogue with the OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza on Monday, June 2. These pro-life representatives who stood and spoke came from Paraguay, as well as from Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Puerto Rico. Over and over the pro-life representatives respectfully submitted to the Secretary General the need to protect the life of the unborn from procured abortion, the need to help mothers with crisis pregnancies, and the need to respect the institution of the family as the primary cell of society.
Secretary General Insulza initially stated that he would not respond to questions related to abortion. He eventually said that he did not personally favor abortion but that it was a reality in society that needs to be accepted and addressed. In response, and in what became the highlight of the forum, Generation for Life President Richard Izquierdo responded by pointing out the lack of coherence in seeking development growth without population growth, since it is the strong and active presence of young people in the country that drives economic stability and prosperity.
On that same day in the afternoon, the anti-life and anti-family CSOs again objected to giving a space to the pro-life and pro-family CSOs to draft our proposals as done last year in Guatemala. This year, the OAS officials opened a formal space for the pro-life and pro-family CSOs, called “The Pro-Life and Pro-Family Table.” Immediately after it was announced, the opposing representatives loudly expressed their disapproval. The OAS moderator tried to explain that it was only fair because the other CSOs had their own “sexual and reproductive rights table” and their “non-gender discrimination table,” but they were not satisfied. They wanted our views completely silenced.
After the pro-life and pro-family table was settled and began its work to draft a proposal, the opposition CSO representatives entered the room asking for inclusion of their anti-life and anti-family agenda. When they saw that we were undeterred by their bullying, they left the room after some time.
On Tuesday, June 3, at the session between CSO representatives and the OAS ambassadors, Richard Izquierdo read the pro-life and pro-family proposal (see below) before the OAS ambassadors and the media. As they did last year, the anti-life and anti-family CSOs once again staged an onsite demonstration of protest.
Reflecting on the OAS assembly in his home country this week, Richard Izquierdo said, “In Asuncion, before and during the OAS event, we held several major Marches for Life and Family, and even staged a pro-life flash mob! This OAS General Assembly brought together the defenders of life and family that has not been seen in such a long time in my country. We worked together very united at all times.“
HLI’s Mario Rojas added, “We are so grateful to God for His infinite mercy in helping us to defend His gifts of life and family. And we will continue, with His grace, to make known these great gifts at every opportunity before the Organization of American States.”
Unofficial statement of pro-life and pro-family CSOs read by Mr. Richard Izquierdo at the Organization of American States (OAS) 44 General Assembly, June 2014, Asuncion, Paraguay (official statement in Spanish):
The civil society organizations (CSO) that represent pro-life and pro-family groups in Paraguay and America, gathered at the working table denominated “Pro-Life and Pro-Family,” submit to the Honorable Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, to the Honorable Eladio Loizaga, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Paraguay, honorable ambassadors and representatives, the following statement:
That the Organization of American States must strengthen the following points:
- The Family – The family is the foundation of society and must be protected in an integral manner. It is the essential nucleus and indivisible cell of society, with its rights and obligations, being the principal human resource for the development of our countries in America, given its role to transmit the principles and values that belong to generations. The senior adult citizens must be respected and valued for the experience and wisdom brought to these generations, and so must be held as social actors with dignity.
- The Right to Life – The human right to life must be recognized from conception to natural death, being the foundational right from which all other rights come forth. We express a resounding “NO” to procured abortion.
- Marriage – The stable union between one man and one woman must be promoted, strengthened, and protected as the basis for the institution of marriage for the purposes of procreation and mutual support. Within this framework, an integral education, sustaining the development of the individual and collective capacities of its members, will be found, with the recognition of parental rights. The complementarity between men and women is recognized, as human beings called to the formation of the family as the basic cell of society.
- The inclusion of public policies that strengthen programs and projects that are being developed in the areas of post-abortion syndrome, pregnant mothers in situations of vulnerability, children and families in conflict situations, marriages in crisis situations, and other social sectors in need of protection.
- Man and women stand in equality between each other, each possessing personal and inalienable dignity, founded on their own biological and ontological nature.
- The OAS Member States are called to promote public policies in the area of education in human sexuality that promote love and respect for the totality of the human person and their biological, psychological, and spiritual nature.
- All manners of violence perpetrated against the dignity of each human being are emphatically condemned, with no exclusions.
Therefore, we affirm that the family thus constituted, based on the principles and values that respect life, education, the protection of the most defenseless, adult seniors, all of which must be strengthened and revitalized in the authentic and integral development of our nations, will be the best legacy we can leave to future generations.