The Dangerous ‘Family Rights’ Push at the UN

Austin Dacey shines a light on a treaty being proposed by Christian right groups at the United Nations. The “Declaration on the Rights of Children and Their Families” is cleverly disguised as a human rights agreement that protects children and the rights of parents, but what it really does is push an anti-gay, anti-choice agenda.

The contents of the Declaration, as well as its pseudo-legal tone, reveal it immediately as a polemic. It supplies us with a primer on the ongoing rhetorical appropriation of human rights discourse on the family by U.S. conservative activists and a coalition of UN member states, helpfully condensed onto three handsome sheets of parchment paper.

The “right to life” in Article I extends to unborn life:

Whereas the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before, as well as after birth.

Article II, “Each Child has the Right to a Family,” draws on canonical language from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):

Recognizing that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

In Article III we learn that this right to a family is “the right to a married mother and father.”:

Recognizing that children and youth who reside in a stable, intact family with a married mother and father, generally exhibit greater well-being in every measurable indicator including physically, socially, emotionally, economically and academically; and that the child shall have the right, as far as possible, to know and be cared for by his or her parents (CRC Art. 7);

We call upon States Parties and the United Nations system to discourage sexual relations and childbearing outside of the marital bond, and to promote the institution of marriage as the best environment for children.

The article on religion is noteworthy for affirming a positive “Right to a Religion”—in contrast to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, the standard in accepted international instruments. Here again, the Declaration cites the UDHR but omits its crucial inclusion of the “freedom to change” belief and highlights “the right of parents to guide the moral and religious education of their children.”

And he provides some background on the folks behind this:

Who is the UN Family Rights Caucus? I asked Michael De Dora, who was at the Human Rights Council in his capacity as the UN representative for the Washington-based secularist NGO Center for Inquiry (full disclosure: a position I once held). He pointed me to co-moderator, Sharon Slater, a conservative Mormon who is notorious among progressives for her globetrotting activism against LGBTQ equality and public health policies that include condom use.

Slater’s Family Watch International (FWI) has been deeply involved in promoting abstinence-and fidelity-only initiatives in Uganda and has praised Nigeria—where same-sex couples can face up to 14 years in prison or stoning at the hands of Sharia courts—as “a strong role model” for other regional governments “on how to hold on to their family values despite intense international pressure.”

The Human Rights Campaign has reported that FWI’s annual, invitation-only global policy forum for UN delegates often includes testimonials from people “cured” of “homosexuality” by conversion therapy. According to FWI literature, “so-called ‘homosexual rights’ are driving much of the current worldwide assault on marriage, the family and family related issues.”

So, the usual suspects doing the usual things — and appropriating the language of human rights in defense of an agenda that blatantly rejects that very idea.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • reddiaperbaby1942

    As was said a long time ago: “The stupid, nasty and narrow-minded you shall always have with you.”

  • raven

    The “Declaration on the Rights of Children and Their Families” is cleverly disguised as a human rights agreement that protects children and the rights of parents, but what it really does is push an anti-gay, anti-choice agenda.

    They’ve been reading their instruction manual again. Saint Orwell’s 1984.

    Orwell is so important to fundie xians that he has been made a Saint by now. And one of the most important.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    In Article III we learn that this right to a family is “the right to a married mother and father.”

    Thank goodness these people are on the ball. I had no idea that any countries were even planning on banning marriage.

  • John Pieret

    has praised Nigeria—where same-sex couples can face up to 14 years in prison or stoning at the hands of Sharia courts—as “a strong role model” for other regional governments “on how to hold on to their family values despite intense international pressure.

    Ah, yes! The all important family value of stoning and imprisoning those who don’t share your beliefs. Manson family, that is.

  • lorn

    And a lot of the people pushing this have a problem with Agenda 21?

  • Chiroptera

    …the rights of parents….

    I hate this phrase. It makes it sound as if kids are the property (or at least the pets) of their parents. Too many people, even good meaning people, seem to be too willing to allow parents to treat their kids like their own vanity projects.

    Children are humans and citizens. They themselves have rights. Parents are merely the stewards we entrust to act on behalf the their children’s rights until their children reach majority and can act on their own. And, yes, sometimes it is obvious when the stewards, due to well-meaning ignorance or due to negligence or due to actual malice, fail in their duties as stewards and we, throught the agencies of the state, need to step in and either provide more oversight or even put the children under the care of better stewards.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Chiroptera, that’s precisely the Godless Liberal ideology that is destroying Our God-Given Freedoms. That way Lies Tyranny and Damnation!

  • Michael Heath

    lorn writes:

    And a lot of the people pushing this have a problem with Agenda 21?

    Awesome observation.