The United Nations Office at Geneva Switzerland
The submission argues that the right to life should be applied to the unborn and that no “right to abortion” exists in international human rights law.
Concerned that the Committee may also open a discussion on euthanasia and assisted suicide, the submission makes clear that the right to life cannot be interpreted as including a diametrically opposed claim, namely a so-called “right to die.”
Human life has value before birth as well as after birth…
“Human life has value before birth as well as after birth,” said director of UN advocacy Paul Coleman. “Given the clear language of numerous human rights treaties, the international legal framework can, and should, be understood as protecting unborn life.”
The Committee is in the process of preparing guidance on Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – a UN treaty signed by 175 nations – which guarantees that, “Every human being has the inherent right to life.” In previous guidance issued, the Committee has noted that, “the right to life has been too often narrowly interpreted. The expression ‘inherent right to life’ cannot properly be understood in a restrictive manner.” The introduction to the treaty also recognizes “the inherent dignity and … equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.”
However, the Committee has repeatedly recommended that countries liberalise their laws on abortion and has been critical of nations that have legal provisions protecting unborn life.
In 2015 ADF International opened an office in Geneva to become more involved in the work of UN bodies tasked with monitoring UN treaties, including the Human Rights Committee.
Filing the submission, director of UN advocacy in Geneva Ruben Navarro said, “Every innocent life deserves to be protected. We hope that the Human Rights Committee will take the opportunity to affirm the right to life of all members of the human family, no matter their stage of development.”