As American children spent last weekend trick-or-treating, many bringing home donations for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) along with their hauls of candy, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice congratulated the organization’s 60-year Halloween fundraising campaign.
Parents who were worried about how much sugar their little ones consumed would surely be even more concerned if they were aware of the mischief and nonsense that has become run of the mill at UNICEF and its sister U.N. entities. The past several decades have brought a transition away from UNICEF’s founding focus on children’s health and survival to that of the radical feminists, usually under the guise of children’s rights. Now, UNICEF programs and policies tend to emphasize the rights of “the girl-child” and advocate for children’s sexual and reproductive rights. Unfortunately, this trend creates an artificial tension between children and their parents, and the importance of the family is relegated to the sidelines.
For example, a recent UNICEF panel called for a closer examination of disciplinary practices of children in their own homes and in a new report sought “to promote positive disciplinary practices and participatory forms of child-rearing.” Such regulation of parents’ authority in their homes is a far cry from UNICEF’s image of promoting immunization programs and campaigns against hunger.
Similar intrusions into family life are pervasive at the U.N. Causing quite a stir last week in the General Assembly, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to education supported an inflammatory report by his predecessor arguing that children have a right to comprehensive sexual education from a young age. The report “introduces the topic of the right to sexual education, placing it in the context of patriarchy and control of sexuality” and “explains the interdependence of sexuality, health and education and the relationship of this right to other rights from a gender and diversity perspective.” The General Assembly is expected to revisit the report later this year.
The United States has a good track record when it comes to protecting children—at home and abroad—from the legitimate threats of disease, famine, abduction, and war. U.S. policymakers should stick to such real child protection efforts and steer clear of attempts, especially by the gender advocates and U.N. bureaucrats, to turn children into pawns in their greater liberal agenda.