The International Organization for the Family (IOF) has provided the following statement, co-signed by organizations from around the world, to over 150 United Nations ambassadors and their missions in anticipation of the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW64) to be held March 9-20, 2020. The event will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+25) in this, the 75th anniversary year of the founding of the United Nations.
The convergence of CSW64 and Beijing+25 with the 75th anniversary of the United Nations calls to mind the principles memorialized soon after its founding in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Eleanor Roosevelt prophetically hoped would become “the international Magna Carta” of all people everywhere. Proclaiming “the inherent dignity” and “equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family,” including “the equal rights of men and women,” the Declaration enumerates, inter alia, the right to live free from slavery, torture, and degrading treatment, the right to own property, the right to receive equal pay for equal work, and the right to be educated—rights all too often denied to women around the world.
But the urgent and laudable work of protecting the rights of women must proceed in a way that does not unintentionally undermine the most important of their “equal and inalienable rights” by failing to recognize the God-given uniqueness of woman and man and of their marital union to form what the Declaration recognizes as society’s “natural and fundamental group unit,” namely, the family. Referring to this divinely ordained union, Pope Francis has spoken of “the complementarity between man and woman,” which “lies at the foundation of marriage and the family…. Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s growth and emotional development.” This “union of man and woman in marriage,” he continues, is “a unique, natural, fundamental and beautiful good for people, families, communities and societies.”
It is also the greatest guarantor of human rights for both women and men. In the words of Michael Novak, former ambassador to the UN Commission on Human Rights, “The family is the seedbed of economic skills, money habits, attitudes toward work, and the arts of financial independence. The family is a stronger agency of educational success than the school. The family is a stronger teacher of the religious imagination than the church. Political and social planning in a wise social order begins with the axiom What strengthens the family strengthens society…. The roles of a father and a mother, and of children with respect to them, is the absolutely critical center of social force.” As CSW64 proceeds with its important work of protecting women’s rights, we urge delegates to do so in the most effective manner possible by fulfilling their obligation undertaken in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights calling for “the widest possible protection and assistance” to “be accorded to the family.”
International Organization for the Family
Center for Family and Human Rights
United Families International
American Family Association of New York
Latin American Alliance for the Family
Novae Terrae Foundation, Italy
FamilyPolicy.RU Advocacy Group, Russia
Family First, New Zealand
Universal Peace Federation
Family Policy Institute, South Africa
Institute for Family Policy, Spain