A Nigerian delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) has urged African delegates to international conferences to always be circumspect while endorsing documents at such events.
The 56th session of the UNCSW held in New York, U.S., from Feb. 27 to March 9.
Mr Sonnie Ekwowusi, a Lagos lawyer, who was part of the Nigerian team to the conference, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday that there was need for caution to save the continent from enslavement.
“What I saw at the conference was that the organisers had preconceived ideas of what they wanted to impose on the rest of the world.
``It is an ideological battle and the U.S. and EU countries were bent on imposing their narrow ideological views on Africa and other parts of the world,’’ he said.
Ekwowusi said that some documents at such conferences contained clauses which, if not well understood, could jeopardise the interest of African countries.
Giving an example of women empowerment, he said that a document on agreed conclusions at the conference had very good outcomes on making rural women have access to agricultural loans, to boost farming.
“But in another document on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, you find obnoxious clauses that could impoverish African women,’’ he said.
The lawyer noted that there were confusing clauses, one of which was “gender stereotyping”.
Ekwowusi said that this, when defined, included the rights of lesbians and homosexuals.
“So indirectly, without a country legalising homosexuality and lesbianism, the big power countries, U.S. and EU countries are forcing other countries to accept homosexuality. That is very unfair,” he said.
Ekwowusi said that he was happy that the document met with stiff resistance from African delegates who prevented it from being endorsed.
He said that the UN, rather than protect the interest of some key nations that form its inner caucus, should always take care of the majority of member countries.
“At UN conventions and meetings, African nations are very important and are strategic to agreements,’’ he said.
The lawyer said that if the organisers of such conferences had preconceived ideas of what they wanted in everything, then they were only using Africa just to complete the quota.
He urged African nations not to lie low but to take part constructively in debates and put up strong resistance to obnoxious policies so that the continent would not go into ``second slavery”.