Vatican archbishop at launch of global campaign for unborn children's rights
30 June 2006
Vatican archbishop at launch of global campaign for unborn children's rights Geneva, 30 June - The Holy See's permanent observer at the UN in Geneva was at the launch this week of an international campaign for unborn children's rights. Among other countries attending were Iran, Iraq and the United States. The Amnesty for Babies before Birth Campaign was launched in the presence of Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi in Geneva. The campaign has launched a petition which is addressed to governments and the international community. The launch took place during the inauguration session of the new Human Rights Council. In welcoming the campaign, Archbishop Tomasi described how movements which started small could end up influencing the whole world. There had been only 12 apostles in the early Christian church. The archbishop said that much modern legislation placed emphasis on the individual yet failed to respect the human person. This led to an erosion of human rights. Ms Kathy Sinnott, independent MEP for Ireland south and a campaigner for the disabled, announced the start of the campaign. She said: "Amnesty International is currently consulting its members all over the world on the question of whether to campaign actively to make abortion a human right. Sadly, some countries have already decided that it should be a human right. The targeting of the baby before birth by powerful international organisations and all attempts to make abortion a human right are unfair, unjust and contrary to the human rights of the baby before birth. Babies need strong advocacy to bring their plight to the world's attention. Abortion is not, and can never be, a human right. Abortion ignores the right to life of innocent and vulnerable babies. We insist we must have an amnesty for babies. "Medical science has also shown beyond any doubt that, from the moment of fertilisation, each newly formed human embryo has a unique, separate and distinct identity and is in fact a new human person in his or her earliest stages. If this was a white whale or some other protected species, environmentalists would be clamouring for the protection of pregnant mothers, but the human embryo is seen as disposable and treated abominably." John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), launched the petition. He said: "There has been a failure by those charged with the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child properly to implement that convention in respect of all children without discrimination. Sadly, the convention has been unjustly interpreted by some nations and international bodies to limit its scope to born children. "We call on those nations which currently have in place legislation which permits abortion to review their policies as a matter of urgency and to take seriously the statement in the Declaration on the Rights of the Child and the subsequent Convention on the Rights of the Child which says: 'Whereas the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth,'." The campaign's website at www.amnestyforbabies.com includes a link to a printable copy of the petition, and a facility to sign up to an email list through which people can be kept in touch with the campaign. The webpages also include the text of some of the speeches at the launch.