UN     BID TO KEEP VATICAN UN SEAT
Pro-life and religious groups from around the world are launching a new campaign in support of the Vatican to counter efforts to review the Holy See's unique and influential status at the United Nations.
   As a non-member state with permanent observer status, the Vatican enjoys many of the same rights and privileges as the 188 countries that are full-fledged UN members. While it has no vote, the Vatican can take active part in UN debates and conferences, where it has made a strong mark in family planning and abortion issues.
   Last year, the pro-choice group Catholics for a Free Choice announced it was seeking a formal review of the Holy's See's status, saying its claim to be a "state" was questionable and it should be treated more like a non-governmental organisation.
   Such organisations cannot directly negotiate treaties or speak during formal debates, but must instead lobby individual governments to incorporate their positions.
   A pro-life lobbying group, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, and other conservative groups announced yesterday a campaign to counter the Catholics for a Free Choice effort.
   
AP
16/3/00

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