Several traditional family lobbyists at the United Nations provided insight into their work and their success during a round-table discussion at the World Congress of Families on Thursday.
Austin Ruse, president of Center for Family and Human Rights, hosted a round-table discussion featuring Sharon Slater of Family Watch International; director of Marriage and Family Peace Initiative Lynn Walsh; Theresa Okafor from the Foundation for African Cultural Heritage; and Susan Yoshihara from the Center for Family and Human Rights.
The panelists came to the United Nations from various backgrounds and cultures, but united under similar beliefs about the sacred nature and essential societal role of the family.
“I was a mom, but I was a mom that happened to be at the right place at the right time, and that changed my life,” Slater said.
Slater described how she was able to help U.N. delegates find sources from previous U.N. documents to support arguments in favor of the family.
Okafor comes from a different background, and said she hopes to help support her native country of Nigeria.
“I feel that Africa is a continent that is misunderstood. We are the exploited continent,” Okafor said. “I needed to speak up. I needed to get informed. I needed to do something.”
Yoshihara, a former helicopter pilot in the United States military, shared her experience learning about the United Nations and its functions while still serving in the armed forces.
“We’re starting to build programs around a right that doesn’t exist.” Yoshihara said. “There is an idea that there is a right to abortion. That is simply not true.”
The panel discussed the tactics used by U.N. delegates in negotiations, including holding the negotiations in the early hours of the morning, withholding food, switching meeting locations, and locking doors.
“It’s a power game. A change has to happen,” Okafor said. “Trends are determined by people in government.”
The panel also stressed the victories achieved by their efforts in removing what they said is dangerous rhetoric and harmful policies from U.N. treaties.
Efforts from lobbyists have so far assisted in the banning of human cloning, prevention of abortion permission in U.N. documents, and the adoption of an eight-page “protection of the family” resolution.
The panelists all agreed that while there is still much work to be done in defending the family, opposition to pro-family legislation is in the decline as more political victories for traditional family values are amassed.