The UN is once again the target for conspiracy theorists, with claims the international organisation has called for pedophilia to be legalised.
This is false. The claims are based on the misrepresentation of a March 2023 report that called for a more nuanced approach to criminal law when adolescents of similar ages are engaged in consensual, non-exploitative sexual activity.
“UN just announce they try (sic) to legalize pedophilia,” one post reads.
“They want to legalize pedophilia. If ever there was a line to draw in the sand, this is it,” another adds.
In the video (archived here), Ms Zeee reads from the report and says: “(The UN is) trying to normalise this to get us to the point where these old, creepy transgender Baphomet-loving old men can have sex with your children legally.”
The report in question was released on March 8, 2023, by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
It calls for a “human rights-based approach” to criminal law relating to issues including sex, drug use, HIV, homelessness and poverty.
The passage used to make the claim is contained on pages 22 and 23.
“Moreover, sexual conduct involving persons below the domestically prescribed minimum age of consent to sex may be consensual in fact, if not in law,” the report says.
“In this context, the enforcement of criminal law should reflect the rights and capacity of persons under 18 years of age to make decisions about engaging in consensual sexual conduct and their right to be heard in matters concerning them.”
It continues, stating that persons under the age of 18 should participate in decisions affecting them, “with due regard to their age, maturity and best interests, and with specific attention to non-discrimination guarantees”.
The UN has responded to what it has called “malicious misreporting” of the report on social media.
“It did not call for the decriminalization of sex with children, nor did it call for the abolition of the age of consent,” Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the Secretary-General, said.
Instead, he said the report recognised that criminal sanctions are not appropriate against adolescents of similar ages for consensual, non-exploitative sexual activity.
He added: “The UN is resolute in fighting the sexual exploitation of children, upholds that sexual exploitation and abuse of children is a crime, and supports countries to protect children.”
The ICJ also released a statement, saying the report had been “seriously misrepresented”.
“(The report does) not call for the decriminalization of sex with children, nor do they call for the abolition of a domestically prescribed minimum age of consent to sex,” the ICJ said.
“Indeed, the ICJ stresses that States have a clear obligation under international law to protect children from all forms of abuses, such as child sexual abuse, including through the criminalization of such conduct.”
The claim that the UN wants to legalise pedophilia is false.
The claim misrepresents a report that calls for a human rights-based approach to criminal law on a range of matters.
The passage in question calls for a more nuanced approach to when adolescents of similar ages are engaged in consensual, non-exploitative sexual activity.
False – The claim is inaccurate.