Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New family focus recommended by a group of Member States the Human Rights Council.

Delegates from 112 UN Member States came together to form a new cross regional group, in support of the family, prior to the 25th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The Group arranged a panel discussion on Thursday last pointing out that the International Community has spectacularly failed to support the family, the fundamental group unit of society as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The panel discussion focused on the 20th anniversary of the Year of the Family and looked at the potential for a goal on the family now that the international community is negotiating Sustainable Development Goals or SDG’s.
The panel focused in particular on strengthening the Family in its role as stimulator for autonomous economic activities, and as a factor for social integration, intergenerational solidarity and as an engine for development all of which are important components in the development of the post 2015 development agenda.

A statement in support of the family was also presented to the Human Rights Council on Friday by Namibia on behalf of the majority of the group members and it was expected that others would follow.
The Namibian statement follows:
Draft Cross Regional Statement
“Protection of the Family”
General Debate Item 3

Mr. President,
I am delivering this statement on behalf of 96 delegations…
According to the International Bill of Human Rights, the family, as the natural and fundamental group unit of society, is entitled to widest possible protection and assistance by the state and the society.
At the time this year marks the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family proclaimed by the UN General Assembly resolution 44/82 of the 9th of December 1989, and followed-up most recently by General Assembly resolution 68/136 adopted on 18 December 2013, which provided a useful opportunity to draw further attention to the objectives of the International Year for increasing cooperation at all levels on family issues. However, the international community still fails to pay sufficient attention to the responsibilities of states under international law to provide protection for the family. The family unit around the world continues to face considerable challenges and difficulties that compromise the human rights of its members, and until this moment some families face particularly difficult circumstances, especially migrant families, families of indigenous descent, and families supported by one parent only.
We commend the efforts exerted by the United Nations’ Secretary General, and the member states of the UN in the context of the General Assembly, ECOSOC, and the Commission of Social Development in fostering research and exchange of good practices in the areas of family policy, work-family balance, family support programs, data collection and processing, and empowering intergenerational solidarity through strengthening of the family unit.
In this regard, our countries are of the view that the Human Rights Council should undertake its role in addressing the means and ways of protection entitled to the family as underlined by international human rights law, and to contribute to exploring the link between family’s well-being and better protection and promotion of the internationally agreed and recognized human rights, including in relation to women’s right, protection of the rights of the child and ensuring their full and harmonious development, realizing the right to adequate standard of living, and promoting the right to education.
To this effect, we invite the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Treaty Bodies, the Special Procedures Mandate Holders, as well as the member states in their engagement with the UPR process, to consider paying attention to the challenges and the best practices related to fulfilling States’ responsibilities to provide the protection and assistance entitled to the family unit as prescribed by respective obligations under International Human Rights Law.
The countries supporting this statement are committed to take advantage of the observance of the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family to continue ensuring the visibility of family issues in the work of the Human Rights Council.

I thank you.