The resolution on ‘Protection of the Family’ was NOT adopted at the Human Rights Council on Monday. It was withdrawn by the sponsors. The sponsors framed their withdrawal as postponing consideration to a later stage.
It is telling that the fear of introduction of language on
the existence of “various forms of the family” into the text during
action on the resolution caused this withdrawal/postponment. The
language that would have formed the introduced amendment is agreed
consensus UN language which has been used again and again. The EU and
GRULAC groups and a number of States including Switzerland, the US,
Australia and New Zealand stood firm in insisting that this language be
included in the text. A number of other States from different regions
stood ready to support the introduction previously mentioned.
took the floor to introduce the resolution and announce its withdrawal
on behalf of the core group, comprising of Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan,
Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia,
Tunisia, UAE, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The resolution had 72 co-sponsors
including the Arab and OIC groups, Angola, Kenya, Botswana, Ethiopia,
Eritrea, Sri Lanka and many others.
They began by framing the
subject in terms of Art 16 of the UDHR and said that there is a lack of
definition of the family, that there are differences between societies.
That the focus on individual rights has resulted in neglect of the
family and group and collective rights. That there is no resolution or
treaty which deals with the protection of the family in human rights law
in comprehensive manner. His statement failed to define what the family
needed protection from.
They spoke of the need to openly discuss
the issue so as to address state obligations to protect the family under
relevant provisions of international human rights law. A discussion
that would allow for the exchange of views and lessons learned and allow
the Council to identify implementation gaps and possibly shed some
light on how to tackle them. Hence this procedural resolution.
statement was very hard-lined and combative. They claimed to have
approached consultations with an open mind and accused other States of
holding pre-conceived notions and pushing divisive substantive issues.
They also said that it seems that the Council has not yet reached the
level of maturity that would enable it to engage in delicate issues in a
cooperative matter, and announced that they were postponing
consideration of the text. Despite what you might hear to the contrary,
the Egyptian representative did not stamp his feet, burst into tears or
While we should see this withdrawal/postponement as a
victory, it may be one we should celebrate quickly, as it is likely to
be short lived. It is not unlikely that they will seek to reintroduce
the resolution in June, in what is already being viewed as a highly
contentious session with resolutions expected on sexual orientation and
gender identity, and violence against women, to name but two.
= Source: CSW57 Women's Rights Caucus =