UN Human Rights Council: “The family has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children”

Last week, by more than a 2-to-1 margin, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva voted to adopt a landmark resolution calling for the protection of the family.

This resolution strongly reaffirms the family as the natural and fundamental group unit of society, and calls on governments to both implement family-sensitive policies and to take steps to address threats to the family.

This is by far the strongest and most comprehensive pro-family UN document ever, and pro-family UN delegations worked hard to achieve this in the face of great opposition.

Some of the key provisions of the family resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council include:

  • “. . . the family has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children” and that “the family plays a crucial role in the preservation of cultural identity, traditions, morals, heritage and value system of the society.”
  • “…calls upon States to render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities … bearing in mind that a child should grow up in a safe and supportive family environment…”
  • “. . . maternity, motherhood, parenting and the role of women in procreation must not be a basis for discrimination . . . .”
  • “Recognizes the positive impact that policies and measures to protect the family can have on protecting and promoting the human rights of its members and can contribute, inter alia, to decreasing dropout rates from educational institutions, achieving equality between women and men and girls and boys, empowering women and girls, and enhancing the protection against violence, abuses, sexual exploitation . . . “

Urges States to:

  • create “family friendly-policies to support the family and assess such policies and programmes for their impact on family well-being . . .”
  • “reinforce the role of grandparents in raising grand children . . . ”
  • address the “causes and mitigating the consequences of family disintegration . . . “
  • grant “assistance to families in difficult life situations . . . “
  • Recognizes the family “. . . as a contributor to sustainable development” and “encourages States to give due consideration to the role and status of the family in the context of the ongoing negotiations of the post-2015 development agenda, and invites States to consider mainstreaming the promotion of family-oriented policies as a cross cutting issue in the proposed goals and targets of the post-2015 agenda.”
  • Reminds states of their “obligations under relevant provisions of international human rights law to provide protection and support to the family…”
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