OTTAWA - A leading international rights watchdog has told the Harper government to include abortion in its G8 maternal health initiative while adding the caution that Canada's global reputation on human rights has eroded.
A top official with New York-based Human Rights Watch raised the controversial abortion stance with one of Canada's senior organizers of the June 25-26 G8 leaders' summit in a meeting earlier this week at the Foreign Affairs Department.Oh, please. If Robertson thinks we're on the wrong track, there's every indication the Tories must be doing something right. (Question: What's a "Sous-Sherpa"? Is it like a "sous" chef? Can I go to a community college and take a course to become one, since it sounds like a most intriguing profession?)
"It's important that maternal health is being raised at the G8. This is long overdue," Phil Robertson, the deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch said in an interview Wednesday.
"That said, we think that the services on offer that are supported by the G8 should be comprehensive — nothing should be left out. These services really need to be driven by the needs on the ground and that includes ensuring access to safe abortions."
Robertson met with the Canada's "Sous-Sherpa" Keith Christie.
Robertson refused to discuss Christie's response. The Conservative government has insisted it can offer a full menu of assistance, including food security, to help poor kids and moms in Africa, Asia and Latin America without funding abortion.
The Canadian Press revealed last week that the Harper government turned its back on the advice of its own bureaucrats at the Canadian International Development Agency, who told International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda that access to safe abortions could save numerous lives in poor countries.
"We would say that historically Canada has supported a comprehensive set of services for reproductive health for women and that ideally Canada should go back to that stand," said Robertson.
"We're going to press our point that these services should be comprehensive and should be driven by the needs of women on the ground in the poor areas of the world, not by political debates in northern capitals."
Robertson said Canada's international reputation may be taking a beating across the globe...
Update: In other "human rights" news--the Harper Tories are also proving to be a big disappointment on the UN "native rights" front. (FYI, this is another UN initiative that uses "human rights" as a smokescreen to try to discredit Israel's legitimacy, the Arabs being considered the "natives" while the Jews are seen as the alien intruders.)