United Kingdom, introducing the amendments, said it was compelled to introduce amendment L.82 which would state that various forms of family existed. That amendment did not specify various forms of family and it did not seek to define family. It used United Nations agreed language. It was a shame that States tried to backtrack on the previously agreed terminology. The United Kingdom called on Council Member States to vote for amendment L.82. As for amendment L.83, it proposed a change in the reference to “families”. Individuals in families were those who had to take action. The amendment also suggested deletion of the reference to the 2030 Agenda for Development because there was no reference to family in the Agenda. The Council should not be used to renegotiate the 2030 Agenda. Amendment L.84 reflected the fact that family was not recognized as a rights holder in international law. It was individuals who were rights holders. The United Kingdom called on Council Members to support those amendments in separate votes.
Switzerland, also introducing the amendments, explained that the amendment proposed the change of “family” to “families”, Switzerland was a strong supporter of families and their contribution to the strengthening of societies. In different political and cultural systems, different forms of families existed, which the draft resolution did not recognize. If true progress was to be made, that had to be taken into account. Likewise, the draft resolution aimed to protect the family as such, but not to protect human rights of family members in different family contexts without discrimination. Switzerland thus called for Council Members to vote for amendment L.89.
Russia, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the main co-sponsors, said amendment L.82 had no relevance and compromised the delicate balance on which the draft resolution had been built. The draft resolution neither prescribed a definition for a family, nor imposed single or multiple forms of the family. It already recognized the diversity of families, including single mothers, child-headed families, and families with members with disabilities. This amendment had been proposed both in 2014 and 2015, and the Human Rights Council had not even wanted to consider it. Though the amendment looked innocent, its main problem was that it included an open ended invitation for incestuous arrangements, child marriages and other arrangements where human rights could not flourish. The Human Rights Council could not be used as a cover for violations of human rights. The co-sponsors strongly rejected amendment L.82 and called on all Member States of the Human Rights Council to vote against this hostile amendment.
Qatar, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the main co-sponsors, said amendment L.83 denied that the family had a huge role to play as a development actor, and that it was a driving force for educational development. The family would continue to have a positive role in sustainable development. The main co-sponsors rejected amendment L.83 and called on Council Members to vote against it.
Saudi Arabia, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the main co-sponsors, said that amendment L.84 could not be accepted. The family had a great role, including in moral, emotional, material and spiritual support. The family continued to have a role in the promotion and protection of human rights. The amendment failed to capture this role, through family contributions, community support and inter-familiar arrangements. Although the second part of the amendment looked harmless, it totally changed the topic and scope of the draft resolution. The sponsors therefore rejected amendment L.84 and called on all Member States to vote against it.
Morocco, also speaking on behalf of the co-sponsors in a general comment, said that the family was a vital institution for individuals and the closest environment in which human beings grew up, including those with disability. Several international instruments encouraged States to support the members of the family, and the proposal to change the title of the resolution would restrict the protection provided to persons with disabilities. The purpose of the draft resolution was to strengthen the protection and promotion of human rights by strengthening the role of the family. Morocco called upon the Council members to vote against the proposed amendments.
Nigeria, speaking in a general comment, was dedicated to the protection of marriage and family and that was why Nigeria was supporting the draft resolution, particularly because the draft resolution reminded Member States of their duty to protect the family as a fundamental unit of society. However, Nigeria was deeply worried by the opposition launched by draft amendments. The family was the first protector of children’s rights and Nigeria strongly rejected the draft amendment and encouraged other States to vote against it.
United Arab Emirates, speaking in a general comment, said that children had to grow in a balanced family atmosphere. The family was a basic natural unit of society and any attempt to change this arrangement was going against nature. Cultural background and cultural and religious specificities must be taken into account when various issues were being tackled in the Council. The Council was a forum for a positive dialogue between different cultures and religions. The United Arab Emirates would reject all amendments.
Saudi Arabia, speaking in a general comment, said that the protection of the family unit was essential for protecting cultural and religious beliefs, as well as morality. The term “family” was recognized in international law, and Saudi Arabia did not understand the added value of amendments put forward. On the contrary, they compromised the protection of the family and its members. All delegations should vote against these amendments.
Algeria, speaking in a general comment, said that this draft resolution was inspired by major human rights texts, which recognized the centrality of the family unit within societies. Algeria supported the resolution, and would vote in favour of it. It would vote against the proposed draft amendments.
Bangladesh, speaking in a general comment, said that both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights clearly recognized the importance of the family and its members. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights also recognized this importance. Opposition to this resolution was therefore incomprehensible. The family, as a natural unit of society, had an important role to play to contribute to development. The text also sought to better protect members of family with disabilities.
Namibia, speaking in a general comment, said the family as a fundamental group in society was entitled to protection. It was essential to give the family a role to ensure the promotion and protection of rights of persons with disabilities. Numerous documents and organizations had recognised that families had a role in this respect. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities underlined that family members should receive assistance to enable the realisation of full rights for persons with disabilities. Families included all types of families, including single-headed families. The resolution did not endeavour to define families. Therefore Namibia requested States to support this draft resolution.
Maldives, speaking in a general comment, said the family had an important role, and the future generations should be fully protected. The draft resolution emphasized the important role played by the family. More attention needed to be paid to the promotion and protection of persons with disabilities, especially within the family. This was reflected in the draft resolution which recognised the role of families in this respect. Therefore the Maldives would vote against the amendments and for the draft resolution.
Slovenia, speaking in a general comment, recognized the value of families that contributed to the strengthening of societies. However, family policies should support all families, no matter their shape or size. Individuals, including those without a family, must enjoy equal protection by the State. Families had to protect the rights of the child, including the vulnerable, elderly and persons with disabilities. They had to promote gender equality. The draft resolution did not emphasise the rights of individuals within families, and did not encompass all families. Therefore Slovenia would vote against the draft resolution, and in favour of the amendments.
Kenya, speaking in a general comment, recognized the importance of the family as a natural environment for growth and nurturing of all its members, particularly the vulnerable such as children and persons with disabilities. The Kenyan Constitution was acclaimed as one of the most progressive, domesticated binding international treaties and defined family as the basic unit of society and recognized the right of every adult person to marry a person of the opposite sex. Any attempt to alter such understanding of the family was not acceptable, and Kenya called on the Council’s members to support the draft resolution without amendments.
Indonesia, speaking in a general comment, said that the draft resolution recognized the challenges facing the family and aimed to protect members with disabilities from any violations, including within the family. The family was clearly defined in Indonesia as a fundamental unit in society that had a crucial role to contribute to development. Indonesia hoped that the draft resolution could be adopted by consensus without any changes.
Qatar, speaking in a general comment, said that the protection of the family was automatically the protection of all individuals in societies. The family had a particular role to play in the protection of its members who needed special protection, such as children or the elderly. The draft resolution placed a particular emphasis on the right of children with disabilities and their equal right to family life and proposed strengthening the role of the family and so achieving the international goals contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Côte d’Ivoire, speaking in a general comment, called upon States parties to support this draft resolution, which was based on key provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. States had to provide the family with effective means to address the needs of persons with disabilities therein. Côte d’Ivoire was convinced of the relevance of this issue within the Council. Member States should vote against the proposed amendments.
Belgium, speaking in a general comment, said that rights holders were individuals, and as such members of the family. It was important to note that families existed in various forms. Belgium was attached to the protection of persons with disabilities, and to protect women and children within the family. Culture or religion should not be used in any way to justify violence against members of the family.
Action on Draft Amendment L.82
Russian Federation, in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the sponsors, urged all delegations to vote against this draft amendment.
The Council then rejected draft amendment L.82 by a vote of 16 in favour, 25 against, with 4 abstentions.
Action on Draft Amendment L.83
Russia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the sponsors, called upon all members of the Human Rights Council who supported draft resolution L.35 to vote against amendment L.83.
The Council then rejected draft amendment L.83 by a vote of 13 in favour, 27 against and 5 abstentions.
Action on Draft Amendment L.84
Russia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the sponsors of the draft resolution on the protection of the family, urged all members of the Human Rights Council to vote against amendment L.84.
The Council then rejected draft amendment L.84 by a vote of 14 in favour, 27 against and 4 abstentions.
Action on Draft Amendment L.89
Russia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the sponsors, urged all members of the Human Rights Council to vote against amendment L.89.
The Council then rejected draft amendment L.89 by a vote of 14 in favour, 27 against and 4 abstentions.