Parents Call for the Hungarian Government to Celebrate Family Diversity at the ‘World Congress of Families’
In May every year the world celebrates the International Family Equality Day (7 May), International Day of Families (12 May) and the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (17 May), just a few days apart. This is symbolic for associations representing families and parents, a good opportunity for highlighting family diversity.
We live in a Europe where family diversity is a present and visible reality with the traditional, nuclear family becoming less typical. More and more children are brought up in single parent families, by same sex parents, in mosaic families or by grandparents while parents are working in another country. Child rights activists, parents among them, keep advocating for all children who live without their own families to be fostered by families rather than living in institutional care. Parents’ associations all over Europe are working for empowering all parents and guardians, regardless their gender, legal or other status to become the best possible parents for their children.
European experiences of advocacy and empowerment for more than 30 years also inspire parents on other continents. As the UNCRC is in force in all countries of the world except the USA, these ideas and the methodology to empower parents are attractive and relevant for them, thus European traditions were asked to be disseminated by the International Parents’ Network worldwide. In UNCRC countries discrimination in the case of different types of families is not acceptable.
Realising that Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán has accepted the invitation of the so-called ‘World Congress of Families’, and to let this event happen in a palace of rights, the Parliament of Hungary some questions have arisen. Being familiar with previous such events it does not come as a surprise that organisations representing European parents and families haven’t been invited to the congress. Still, we find it important to express our hope they will make sure this event will be a European one and promote human rights. Thus, we are asking the Government of Hungary how will they contribute to this event to ensure the equal voice and rights of all families, especially the ones that are not considered ‘natural families’ by the organising American civil society organisations. After the recent vote in the European Parliament accusing Hungary for violating European values, parents and families hope the Hungarian government will show its being European and endorse human.
The European Parents’ Association is the umbrella association of national parents’ representations, the voice of 150 million parents from 31 European countries. We take the opportunity of this forthcoming event to be held in a Member State of the EU to endorse human rights, to highlight the importance of all EU governments to respect international treaties they have joined voluntarily, and – as in this specific case – rule out discrimination and celebrate diversity as European reality. Anti-discrimination should be accompanied by family support policies that make this diversity a great benefit for our children. We would be happy to share Hungarian national good practices of ensuring LGBTQI rights, supporting single parent families, mosaic families and guardians acting in place of parents with a rights-based approach.
The European Parents’ Association (EPA) gathers the parents’ associations in Europe which together represent more than 150 million parents. EPA works in partnership both to represent and give to parents a powerful voice in the development of policies and decisions at European level primarily in education, but also in all other policy areas that influence the lives of parents and children. EPA aims to promote the active participation of parents and the recognition of their central place as the primary responsible of the education of their children.
The main objectives of EPA are:
- to promote and advocate for the active involvement of parents as primary educators at all stages of the education of their children,
- to support parents’ associations and individual parents for stakeholder involvement in different European countries by offering opportunities for training, cooperation and exchanging information,
- to support the highest possible quality of education and services for all children and families in Europe especially by active involvement in EU-level policy development and
- to disseminate relevant European information among its members
Contact: Eszter Salamon, President president [at] euparents.eu
The International Parents Network was established as a sister organisation of EPA on 1 May 2016 with the ambition to establish a global forum and global lobby group for parents and on issues for parents. Our aim is to start an online discussion, a sharing of knowledge, relevant research and experiences, as well as trying to trigger further research and lobby together for policy change.
The network covers the following topics:
- supporting parents to become the best educators of their children
- post-PISA: increasing parental involvement in formal education for thinking and acting together for education suitable for 21st century children
- fighting illiteracy, promoting reading
- equal opportunities for girls and women, education of girls and mothers
- supporting parents in becoming the main advocates of the rights of the child
- the right to mother tongue and mother culture, even for migrants
- digital literacy and living in the digital age
- empowerment for active citizenship and participation
- fighting xenophobia, hate speech, exclusion, supporting inclusion for a peaceful future
Contact: InternationalParentsNetwork [at] gmail.com
 The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) guarantee every child that their rights will be respected and ensured without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status. All loving families bringing up children are to be celebrated these days, regardless the gender, age or legal status of the parents or guardians in them.