Address to the Intermarium Conference online

Role of NGO’s Promoting Individual Rights and Liberty in Light of the Geneva Consensus Declaration
April 29, 2021

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to be a part of this forum, and as co-organizers we welcome all the ideas presented here in favor of the traditional family, natural human rights, and individual liberty. (Many greetings from Dr. Viktor Kostov who could not join us for this event, and whose statement I will read, on his behalf.)

Freedom for All is a human rights organization and publishing group working since 2000 and formally, as a registered non-profit, since 2004. Our goal is to especially defend freedom of conscience and religion, and freedom of speech.

The Geneva Consensus Declaration is an important document which contains a number of provisions which enhance the role of women; protects their rights, and protects the traditional family. Such are article 2, emphasizing equal rights for women, article 3, that every human being has an inherent right to life, including the unborn; article 4, clearly stating that “in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning,” and article 5, allowing for the state and society to view the natural family as the “natural and fundamental unit of society.”

We are also pleased that article 7 affirms the importance of national sovereignty and the primary role of national governments in making policy decisions regarding health care, the so called “universal health coverage” while keeping in mind the local context.

In addition, we are pleased that the Declaration refers to the obvious truth that there is no international right to abortion as there could not be a right to end another human being’s life. It is also commendable that the document has the goal to “advance supportive public health policies” not just for women but also for families.

The role of NGO’s in the fulfilling of the goals of this Declaration may be twofold.

Firstly, to promote the ideas, and especially those mentioned above, in the Declaration on the local and international level, as good policy markers. Those are the support for the natural family, individual and natural rights, support of the right to life for the unborn, and the individual and family right to privacy and conscience.

Secondly, the NGO’s have an important role to be a corrective to the centralization of thought and power, as their role is to approach any issues from the perspective of the citizenry they serve. Of course, that role depends on how concerned the entity is with the well-being of the people, and to what extent it remains financially independent of these networks, especially influential international bodies, so that a citizen’s organization, as is the NGO, can really speak truth to power.

We are concerned with certain formulations in the Declaration. For example, article 6 speaks of universal health coverage which is necessary for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, related to well-being which is considered related to more than health. It is stated that “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.” This verbiage is sure unsettling as it aims to address more than one’s physical problems but also his or her mental, and, seemingly, spiritual well-being. One must remain aware that religious and Christian faith also aims, by the work and grace of God, at the wholeness of the person: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Religious or quasi-religious overtones may not be emanated in any form by any policy or document that seeks to help people and which are obviously not religious in their purpose. Help should not aim to control.

This so-called “holistic approach”, combined with bureaucratic mechanisms for its implementation may not be allowed to turn into a “total” and rather intrusive approach, which threatens individual rights, privacy and dignity. The sustainable development also looks into the wellbeing of the whole, of the corporate; and the well-being of the individual is somewhat buried in the grand project for control of future developments on a large scale.

It is our role, it is the role of human rights and religious freedom organizations, NGO’s, to safeguard the freedom and religious conscience and dignity of each one individual person, their privacy and their rights, and guard even against the UN programs on health and sustainable development hampering those rights. The role of NGO’s is crucial in maintaining the safeguards for natural individual freedoms.

The proper balance we seek can also be guaranteed by the strong language on national sovereignty found in the Declaration. It is our task to help ensure the UN remain within its initial goals, to facilitate the conversation between people’s and sovereign nations, and not turn into a totalitarian superstate overwhelming sovereign nations and individuals with health care, protection, and development plans that control rather than care.

We believe that if the Geneva Consensus Declaration is seen through those lenses it will fulfill the purpose to protect human faith, dignity, and purpose. It is our goal to do likewise. Thank you.

Viktor Kostov, Ph.D.
lawyer, missiologist

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