Thursday, June 26, 2014

Oral Statement on protection of the family at the 26th Session of the Human Rights Council—Geneva—June 22, 2014

The following statement was made in During the 26th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva by an organization GLOBAL HAWC (Helping to advance women and children), under AGENDA item 8, ‘Follow up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of action’. 
I respectfully address the council on behalf of Global Helping to Advance Women and Children and the UN Family Rights Caucus, an international coalition of NGOs.
Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Right, proclaims that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society entitled to “protection by society and the State.”
The Vienna Declaration, in its comprehensive analysis of the international human rights system, also calls for broader family protection since five binding international human rights instruments call for such protection.
Yet until now, the protection of the family has largely been ignored by this Council.
UN consensus documents specify that the family needs to be protected against poverty, disease, substance abuse, unemployment, migration, war, family separation and barriers to reunification, and the worldwide disintegration of the family itself.
We applaud the ongoing dialogue concerning the Protection of the Family resolution, however we are concerned by attempts to change the focus of this historic resolution to individual rights, which numerous other resolutions amply address, rather than focus on the unique role the family plays in fulfilling the rights of its members. 
We hope this council will explore the evidence showing how the rights of individual family members can better be fulfilled when the family is protected.
The UN Secretary General has stated that “the stability and cohesiveness of communities and societies largely rest on the strength of the family” (Secretary General's Family Report 2011 (A/66/62–E/2011/4)).
We call upon States to fulfill their obligations to protect the family. 
Despite the fact that Annie Franklin who made the intervention on behalf of Global HAWC provided 25 copies of the text to the secretariat it was not initially posted as part of the record of the meeting. It was only after three reminders that the text was finally included in the record.