On May 16, 2016 the UN Family Rights Caucus cosponsored and participated in a historic UN event at UN headquarters in New York, called "Uniting Nations for a Family-Friendly World."
The event was organized by the Group of Friends of the Family (GoFF), a coalition of UN Member States from the permanent missions of Bangladesh, Belarus, Comoros, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, the Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Yemen, and Zimbabwe launched last year to protect and promote the family in UN policies.
UN ambassadors, delegates and representatives of pro-life/pro-family non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from countries around the world all participated in the event.
A declaration on the family issued by the GoFF was presented by the deputy minister of foreign affairs of Belarus, Mr. Valentin Rybakov. This joint statement backed by 25 UN Member States, among other things, highlighted the family as “a key actor in the transmission of values within society that are vital” to development and affirmed that the family “forms a protective environment against external threats and gives hope for the future for all of its members.” Click here to read the statement.
UNFRC chair, Sharon Slater, was also honored to make a statement on behalf of the UN Family Rights Caucus, calling upon UN Member States to respect, protect, fortify and strengthen the family ending with a call “to put the family at the center of the UN’s global 2030 development agenda because as the family goes, so go the children, so go the nations, and so goes the world.”
UNFRC spokesperson, Annie Franklin also delivered a formal joint statement on behalf of over 160 civil society organizations supporting the event. The statement welcomed the "recent attention devoted to the family in UN resolutions by the Human Rights Council and the Economic and Social Council” and drew attention to a prominent mural in the UN’s Security Council room depicting the family as the centerpiece of the United Nations on top of a phoenix, symbolizing the regeneration of societies through the family unit.
Expert panel presentations included:
- “Marriage and the Nuclear Family” by Sherif Girgis (Princeton Ph.D. candidate)
- “The Family in International Law and Human Rights” by Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D.
- “Recognizing the Roots of Society in the Family, Foundation of Justice” by David Crawford, Ph.D.
- “Women, Family, and Work” by Helen Alvare, JD, George Mason School of Law
During the ceremonial segment of the event, “Voices for the Family at the UN,” a video produced by Family Watch International was shown and several religious leaders gave statements of support for the family, with a common theme that the family is central to diverse religious traditions and central to the well-being of societies.
Finally, to cap off the event, a group of children sponsored by Family Watch and the UNFRC ended the ceremonial segment with their presentation of A Declaration on the rights of Children and Their Families: A Call from the Children of the World. To view the children’s presentation that received a standing ovation click here. (The children's presentation begins at 43:08.)