Draft on Human Settlements Wins Praise from U.N. Critic

Article excerpt

The conservative Rockford Institute, a critic of the United Nations, says the world body's draft platform for a global conference on human settlements that begins next week "contains the elements of a workable, morally sound agenda."

"Although subservient on its surface to the new international economic order . . . the existing Habitat II draft actually contains a surprising number of positive ideas," Allan C. Carlson, president of the Rockford, Ill.-based institute, wrote in an analysis of the 249-page platform for the second U.N. Conference on Human Settlements, known as Habitat II.

The conference begins Monday in Istanbul and runs through June 14. The meeting's draft document, to be considered by an estimated 4,000 delegates from 185 countries, focuses on housing needs and the "sustainable development" of human settlements, particularly in developing nations.

"Rapid urbanization is a problem for every nation in the world," said Melinda L. Kimble, deputy assistant secretary of state for global issues and a negotiator for the 43-member U.S. delegation to the conference.

Major discussions likely will center on platform language that says: "Everyone should be entitled to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, clothing, and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions."

The Clinton administration, a number of industrialized nations and some developing nations oppose the "housing-as-right" language.

Mr. Carlson said delegates to the Istanbul conference should "redirect the overall document toward the embrace of family life and household autonomy."

Concerned Women for America, a conservative group that emphasizes cultural and traditional family issues, said the Habitat platform would advance homosexual, feminist and pro-abortion agendas supported in U. …