UNICEF, the sponsoring secretariat for the United Nations Special Summit for Children, announced yesterday that “in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States” the summit has been canceled. No rescheduled date for the conference, which was set to open Sept. 19 in New York City, was announced.
The summit was expected to host 75 heads of state. The controversial conference faced opposition from the U.S. over erosion of parental rights, abortion “rights” for children and intrusion into matters of national sovereignty.
Security precautions for presidents and ambassadors traveling to New York City for the summit were uncertain. Off the record comments by U.N. observers pointed to NATO’s decision yesterday to categorize the attacks on the United States as an attack on all NATO members. Tension in the international community is growing as the U.S. investigation into Tuesday’s day of infamy broadens. The United Nations plans to evacuate 80 staff members from their posts in Afghanistan.
In a related announcement yesterday, U.N. Deputy Secretary General Louise Frechette denounced recent condemnations of U.N. conferences as “useless.” Speaking to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Frechette referred to the Group of Eight Summit in Genoa: “I don’t think it is fair to refute the concept of the summit. … Summits of heads of state and governments are useful, even if results are not immediately visible.” The Group of Eight Summit drew thousands of protesters who rioted in the city of Genoa, casting a pall over the deliberations of the nations.
Two other recent U.N. conferences have ended in rancor among countries: The Conference on Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects, held July 9-20 in New York, and the Aug. 31-Sept. 7 World Conference Against Racism, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.