|Ambassador Jean Marie Ehouzou|
Many UN member countries, sick and tired of the constant bombardment from European and other first world member states about same-sex marriage, contraception and abortion, have established an informal group known as Friends of the Family, consisting of 112 member states. This cross-regional group is being formed in the context of this, the 20th anniversary of the International year of the Family, and immediately prior to the 25th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Pat Buckley, one of SPUC's veteran lobbyists at the UN, tells me:
"When 112 member states come together to object to the agenda being forced on them through UN agencies and highlight their determination to support the family, as the fundamental group unit of society, as set out in the international bill of rights, one has to sit up and take notice. This new initiative will no doubt be stiffly resisted by the nations that promote the anti-life and family ideology but it represents the 'winds of change' in international relations and has the potential to lead to genuine appreciation of, and support for, the family."The Group’s first initiative, consisting of a panel discussion on the role of the family as a vehicle in the fight against poverty, was held on Thursday, 13th March. The meeting focused on the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family and looked at the potential for the development of a new development goal on the family now that the international community is negotiating a 15 year programme consisting of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The panel focused in particular on strengthening the family in its role as a stimulator of autonomous economic activities, a factor for social integration and intergenerational solidarity and an engine for development; all of which are important components in the development of the post 2015 development agenda.
The event was arranged by the new group together with the permanent delegations of the African Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Holy See, and speakers included Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See and Mrs. Sharon Slater, President of Family Watch International. The session was chaired by, H.E. Ambassador Jean Marie Ehouzou, Permanent Representative of the African Union.
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