Youth Alliance Takes Aim at U.N. Excess

In the short time since its founding, the World Youth Alliance has established European, North American, African, and Asia-Pacific branches, and plans are under way to set up a group in Latin America.

At the Beijing+5 conference on women last year, the group greatly strengthened the work of the pro-life lobby at the United Nations.

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, said that previously pro-life lobbyists focused on the official government delegations from each country.

The large number of youth lobbyists at Beijing+5, he explained, enabled pro-lifers to expand into the “NGO track” — the important talks between non-governmental organizations that run parallel to the official deliberations.

“They neutralized a lot of the radical NGO activity,” Ruse explained, “meaning that the government [delegations] were more free to do what they wanted to do,” instead of feeling they had to follow the agenda of powerful pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.

World Youth Alliance members witnessed such groups, and their allies in the official delegations of Western nations, using strong-arm tactics on delegates from several countries where life and family values are protected in law.

Yvonne Odero, public relations coordinator of True Love Waits-Kenya, said that “during one of the late night discussions ... some of the African countries would not change their stand on certain issues — for example, sexual orientation. A delegate from the European Union delegation actually went up to the Nigerian delegate, who was quite vocal, and tried to threaten him not to speak anymore on the issue. Thank God the Nigerian delegate was not intimidated by these threats.”

The remarkable success of the World Youth Alliance has caught complacent members of the pro-abortion members of the Youth Caucus off-guard.

World Youth Alliance member Tanya Granic, national director of Canada's Campaign Life Coalition Youth, attributes this in part to the fact that, unlike the pro-life youth lobbyists (some of whom slept on the floors of a monastery in Harlem), many members of the Youth Caucus haven't had to make real sacrifices to be present at the United Nations.

Youth Caucus representatives declined to be interviewed or did not respond to interview requests in the preparation of this article.

The World Youth Alliance's next objective is to have a significant influence on the World Summit for Children, to be held in New York in September 2001.

Veteran pro-lifer Peter Smith, chief executive officer at the United Nations for Britain's Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, notes admiringly that “they've actually been able to become some of the leaders in the NGO document that's going to be produced. They've got themselves in some very influential positions and have positioned themselves incredibly well for that next conference.”

— David Curtin