Since 2014, a group of States has introduced the concept of the “Protection of the family” at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) through an annual resolution and other initiatives.
The concept of the “Protection of the family” has many implications for children’s rights and Child Rights Connect has undertaken a variety of advocacy activities to ensure that “family” is understood from a children’s rights perspective to guarantee the respect, protection and fulfilment of all children’s rights. This includes influencing Resolution text by meeting with Permanent Mission representatives, attending events on the topic, producing advocacy briefings with members of the network, holding expert roundtable meetings and working with an informal network of cross-sectoral organisations.
Our work on this agenda seeks to:
- Promote children as individual rights holders, recognising that the family, as a group, is not itself a subject of rights and that invoking the rights and responsibilities of parents can never be used to justify the denial or violation of children’s rights both inside and outside family environments.
- Protect children from all forms of violence in all settings: Whilst the family environment should be the primary place where children can live and thrive, it can also unfortunately be a place where children’s rights are violated, notably through violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.
- Ensure that ‘protecting’ or ‘preserving’ family values, tradition, culture, custom or religion can never be invoked to justify any form of violence, harmful practices or discrimination against children, and especially girls, in any family environment.
- Guarantee that no child is discriminated against based on family status, as well as their rights to inter-alia, identity, nationality, name and family relations.
- Recognise, support and strengthen all forms of families in different contexts (in accordance with the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children) to ensure the fulfilment of the rights of all its individual members, including children. No laws or policies must exclude or discriminate against any child by ensuring that they apply to all forms of families, guaranteeing that no one is left behind and strengthening families in vulnerable circumstances.