A three-member United Nations working group on the status of women worldwide had harsh words for United States officials in a report they produced last week after visits to Alabama, Texas, and Oregon.
In an extended official statement, U.N. women’s rights experts Eleonora Zielinska, Frances Raday, and Alda Facio chastised American policymakers over a host of lingering disparities in the political and economic status of men and women.
The report was commissioned by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The group criticized the U.S. government for failing to ratify the international Convention on the Elimination of All of Forms of Discrimination Against Women agreement, which all but seven U.N. members have enacted, as well as hostility towards women in popular culture, widespread challenges to reproductive rights, and persistent shortcomings in representation of women in politics and business.
“We acknowledge the United States’ commitment to liberty, so well represented by the Statue of Liberty which symbolizes both womanhood and freedom,” began the report. “Nevertheless, in global context, US women do not take their rightful place as citizens of the world’s leading economy, which has one of the highest rates of per capita income.
“In the US, women fall behind international standards as regards their public and political representation, their economic and social rights and their health and safety protections,” the report went on.
Citing the ongoing election season the panel said their recent trip stateside, including to Alabama on December 4-5, was especially instructive.
“[O]ur visit is particularly timely at a moment when the political rhetoric of some of the candidates for the Presidency in the upcoming elections has included unprecedented hostile stereotyping of women; when there are increasingly restrictive legislative measures in some states and violent attacks to prevent women’s access to exercise of their reproductive rights; and when there is an increase in the rate of women living in poverty, a persistent wage gap and increasingly precarious employment,” the panel inveighed.
Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler reacted to the report Monday by saying no such panel has any authority over Alabamabians’ way of life and or any business in the state in the first place.
Zeigler also criticized the panels’ methodology, specifically their choices when it came to interview subjects who testified to the experts.
The Republican attorney and public ombudsman noted the report dinged states for teaching abstinence in sex education, restrictions on access to abortions, and prosecution of prostitutes.
“The investigators heard from Dr. Willie Parker, who performs abortions in Montgomery. In the meetings was ACLU Alabama attorney Lucia Hormo,” Zeigler said. “Notice they did not meet with any church leaders, adoption advocates, and abortion alternative counselors.”
Zeigler went on to say the visit and the resulting study are part of a plan to supersede America’s national sovereignty and increase international, U.N.-led control over social policy in the community of nations.
Sounding a note familiar to many proponents of theories in the conservative media centered on Agenda 21, Zeigler called the report “the next step of an agenda to impose U.N. standards in every state that does not resist this intrusion.”
“The U.N. is preparing to try to dictate to Alabama what we must do on abortion, contraceptives given to youth, sex education in schools, tolerance of alternative sexual orientation and other ‘progressive’ issues,” Zeigler said. “I will monitor this developing situation and report back. I will also coordinate a strategy for how we can resist this U.N. intrusion.”
“We should not just sit back and say they have no jurisdiction and cannot do this. They don’t care and will proceed anyway if not smartly opposed. I have no confidence in our President and Governor to block this. We citizens need to proactively oppose this dangerous U.N. intrusion,” said Zeigler.
“To use an Alabama expression, ‘They do not have any bidness here’,” Zeigler concluded.
The women’s rights panel is slated to file their final report on the status of women in the U.S. in June 2016.