, 18 October, 2019 / 2:40 AM
An organization of Christian professionals in Kenya, backed by Catholic Bishops, is expressing discontent with the planned United Nations’ (UN) conference guided by themes around sexual and reproductive health care and slated to take place next month, and plans are underway for a parallel convention to counter the UN-driven agenda, an active member of the Kenya Christian Professionals’ Forum (KCPF) told ACI Africa Thursday.
“We want to deliver a clear message to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) that the African population is not a liability, it is an asset,” Richard Kakeeto who is mobilizing participants for the parallel event dubbed the Faith-Based Side Events told ACI Africa in reaction to some of the agenda of the planned UN-sponsored International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25).
Organized under the slogan The Nairobi Summit on ICPD25: Accelerating the promise to mark “the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, where 179 governments adopted a landmark Programme of Action which set out to empower women and girls for their sake,” the UNFPA conference is expected to be guided by five themes, top on the list being “universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.”
“Upholding the right to sexual and reproductive health care even in humanitarian and fragile contexts” is also highlighted as one of the five themes to guide the three-day ICPD25 conference, which UNFPA is realizing in partnership with the governments of Kenya and Denmark.
Analyzing the themes that will be guiding the ICPD25 conference, members of the Kenya-based forum of Christian Professionals (KCPF) are concerned that the UN-sponsored conference will be discussing issues about legalizing abortion, prostitution, homosexuality, same sex unions, and the introduction of Comprehensive Sexuality Education(CSE) at basic schools, subjects that KCPF members are opposed to.
“The families, parents have a primary right to educate their children and that they have the best interest of their children at heart, UNFPA should not sexualize them,” Kakeeto said and continued, “We are calling on governments to partner with the faith sector to protect the family. Governments should not be partnering with these international agencies to undermine the family.”
KCPF members are planning a five-day parallel conference in Nairobi slated to begin on November 10, a couple of days before the UN-sponsored convention, to advocate a pro-life agenda.
In an interview with ACI Africa on Thursday, Kakeeto explained the agenda of their parallel conference saying that as members of the Faith-based Side Events, they decided to organize “a parallel Christian conference in which we are going to offer faith-based options to the whole agenda.”.
“The Conference (ICPD 25) has locked out the Faith Sector. When you fill out the form and they realize that you have a church connection or you are coming from a Church University or something like that they don’t approve your application,” Kakeeto who is based at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) lamented.
KCPF, Kakeeto said, is working with Episcopal Conferences in Africa to reach out to the various governments on the continent to ensure that what will be discussed in the UN conference will be “pro-life” and “pro-family.”
“We had an opportunity to send our reservations (about) the draft commitments that government was making to indicate to them that the commitments proposed by UNFPA are not pro-life, are not pro-family and we pointed out issues so government knows what we think,” Kakeeto told ACI Africa.
He also urged Christians in Africa to join the call against the planned ICPD25 conference agenda and to work with their Bishops’ conferences to “hold their governments to account” and ask “their governments to take a pro-family and pro-life position in this UNFPA conference.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa