MAJOR VICTORIES: Protection of the Family Resolution (New York)

United Nations | New York


In another monumental victory, a third Protection of the Family resolution was adopted by the Human Rights Council by a wide margin! Click here to read the resolution titled "Protection of the family: role of the family in supporting the protection and promotion of human rights of persons with disabilities."

This resolution passed with an even wider margin than the previous two Protection of the Family resolutions, with 32 in favor, 12 against, and 3 abstentions. Click here to see how countries voted.

Building on the previous Protection of the Family resolutions adopted by the HRC in 2014  and 2015 (the first on the role of the family in general, and the second with an added focus on the role of the family in eradicating poverty and contributing to sustainable development), this 2016 family resolution adds additional emphasis on how the family supports people with disabilities.

Significantly, all the hostile amendments that would have changed this new resolution’s meaning and intent were soundly defeated. In particular, a proposal by the UK, Switzerland and Norway seeking to force countries to recognize “various forms of the family” in an attempt to promote controversial family structures was defeated.

The strong focus of this resolution on the role of the family in helping and caring for the disabled is the first time the UN has recognized in a comprehensive way the vital role families play in this regard.

Annie Franklin, spokesman for the UN Family Rights Caucus, and Rody De Guzman, a Geneva volunteer, gave excellent support in the process.

Thousands of people signed on to a letter sent by the UN Family Rights Caucus to all the missions in Geneva effectively debunking many of the ridiculous arguments being used to attack the family resolution.

A special thanks goes to the permanent Mission of Egypt in Geneva that played a major leadership role within the core group of pro-family countries that worked tirelessly in the preparation and passage of this resolution.

Click here to listen to the recorded UN webcast debate and vote on the family resolution. (Click on “Chapter 1” on the right.)

Excerpts From the Protection of the Family Resolution (A/HRC/32/L.35):

“Reaffirming that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members, and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community,”

“Reaffirms that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society, and is entitled to protection by society and the State;”

“Calls upon States to render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities”

“Reaffirms the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents, legal guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of his or her rights;”

“Recognizes that the family, while respect for the rights of its members is ensured, is a strong force for social cohesion and integration, intergenerational solidarity and social development, and that the family plays a crucial role in the preservation of cultural identity, traditions, morals, heritage and the values system of society;”

“Calls upon States to recognize in their policy and legal frameworks the important role played by families in caring for and supporting persons with disabilities;”

“Recognizes that the family unit plays a key role in social development,”

“Invites States, the organizations of the United Nations system and all other relevant stakeholders to take into account the role of the family as a contributor to sustainable development and the need to strengthen family policy development in their ongoing efforts to achieve the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;“

"Invites the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the treaty bodies, relevant special procedure mandate holders and other relevant international and regional human rights mechanisms, within their respective mandates and competence, to pay due attention in their work to the implementation by States of their obligations under relevant provisions of international human rights law to provide protection and support to the family as the natural and fundamental unit of society;"