APRFF2018 Statement in honour of the Global Day of Parents

Hong Kong, 1st June 2018 – This joint statement was developed over the course of the 2018 Asia-Pacific Rainbow Families Forum (APRFF2018), held from May 11th – May 13th, 2018 in Hong Kong, by Asia and Pacific community organisations, allies and independent advocates.

APRFF2018 have chosen to release this statement to coincide with the United Nations Global Day of Parents, a day observed on the 1st June every year since the adoption of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution A/RES/66/292. Based on Article 16 of the Universal Human Rights Declaration (UDHR), it honours parents throughout the world for their selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship.

On 27th April 2011, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN CESCR) stated that “The forms of families have changed and will continue to change. Therefore, we encounter very different family forms today. This is not surprising against the background of the economic, cultural and political changes, but rather a normal part of the continuous change of society in general.”

Today is an occasion to remember that families remain at the centre of social life ensuring the well-being of their members, educating and socialising children and youth, and caring for young and old. In particular, family-oriented policies can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, specifically Goals 1 – 5 relating to:
overcoming poverty and hunger;
ensuring healthy lives;
promoting well-being for all ages;
ensuring educational opportunities throughout a person’s lifespan; and
achieving gender equality.
Rainbow Families are families headed by LGBTIQ+ or SOGIESC identifying adults, with children, or those seeking and planning to have children.

On May 3rd, 2018 at the official launch of International Equality Day in Geneva, Bess Hepworth affirmed that “indisputable to anyone, is the undeniable fact that the family is the most important system within human society for children. We know that children don’t fear diversity, variation or difference, in fact, they celebrate it until they are taught not to.”

We as Rainbow Families representing the Asia-Pacific region, wish to highlight the importance of visibility, engagement, full inclusion, safety and health of our families, and all the individuals who make up these families, within communities and jurisdictions of the Asia-Pacific.
We believe that Rainbow Families are formed in a myriad of ways, and above all seek to support the positive development of children to become thriving and contributing citizens by providing loving environments that are safe, developmentally appropriate, and provide for all the children’s basic needs.
We seek the recognition of all families, not just those formed through biological or short-sighted legal means, but inclusive of those formed through adoption, kinship, foster care, surrogacy, and out of emergency need focused on the needs of children.

We call on governments, UN bodies, public and private institutions, civil society organisations (CSOs), community and individual leaders globally to:
1) Proactively work on legislative frameworks that:
a. Protect Rainbow Families and their members from discrimination, violence (physical, emotional, economic), and violations of human rights;
b. Recognise all members of Rainbow Families legally, inclusive of all the associated government documentation connected to this recognition (e.g. immigration status, welfare benefits, birth certificates, etc.);
c. Recognise and fully integrate Rainbow Families as an established family unit in all our communities.
2) Provide timely and cost-effective services included by not limited to:
a. Reproductive services;
b. Mental health services;
c. Educational and child-care services;
d. Training and support for social service professionals to be able to effectively work with Rainbow Families;

d. Other specific social and health supports needed by Rainbow Families within the SOGIESC community context.

3) Provide assistance and support to civil society organisations, including faith and secular groups, to:
a. Ensure the voice of Rainbow Families, including children, be heard as a crucial part of the dialogue about families;
b. Encourage peer support for Rainbow Families by providing safe meeting spaces and fostering knowledge-sharing;
c. Create safe spaces for Rainbow Families and peer-led support programs;
d. Strengthen relationships across community and indigenous groups locally, regionally and globally;
e. Highlight the need to access, participate in, contribute to and benefit from social, political and economic systems to ensure the development of equity and equality for all Rainbow Families.

f. Develop policies that ensure adequate representation for Rainbow families and vulnerable groups in governance and leadership roles, to foster peaceful and inclusive societies, in line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) n°16

We support the idea that as the centre of humanity’s social life, families are the bedrock of any functioning society. The family unit acts to protect, nurture and support children, help children to avoid poverty and hunger, promote the health and well-being of all members, and reciprocally supports strong communities and society.

In conclusion, our entreaties contained in this statement are not requests for new rights or additional privileges but are simply to equalise laws and policies to ensure that all families are recognized, can thrive and contribute to the greater good of society.

“It’s about all families – single-parent, indigenous, multi-generational, families of choice – and the values that are expressed through relationships of kinship, parenting, brotherhood, sisterhood, friendship, partnership, community and so many more!. We need to open the door wide, not try to close it.”
Finally, we are thrilled to officially announce that the next Asia-Pacific Rainbow Families Forum will be in the Kingdom of Tonga, July 2022 and hosted by Tonga Leitis Association and organised by Planet Ally and IFED. See you there!
 FYI here is the OFFICIAL RELEASE APRFF2018 Statement in honour of the Global Day of Parents (2) and the Full statement is here also on our Facebook Page


For more information, please contact bess@planetally.org


This APRFF2018 Statement is Signed By the Following Advocates and Organisations:

Shadi Amin – 6Rang

Ymania Brown – Pacific Human Rights Initiative and GIN-SSOGIE

Daria Buss – Russian LGBT Network

Florence Chan – Planet Ally

Ging Cristobal, OutRight Action International

Marty W. Forth – Rainbow Families of Hong Kong, Planet Ally and University of Hong Kong School of Social Work

Ledovskikh Evgeny – Russian LGBT Network

Forum for Dignity Initiatives

Kelsey Hadjirul – DAKILA Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism

Bess Hepworth – Planet Ally and International Family Equality Day                                                      

Toni Kruger-Ayebazibwe – GIN-SSOGIE

Victoria Petitjean – GIN-SSOGIE

Jay Lin- Taiwan – Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy

Amao Leota Lu – Public Speaker, Performer and Fa’afafine activist

Celine Martin – Destination Justice

Jason Masters – Uniting Network (NSW/ACT) within the Uniting Church of Australia NSW/ACT Synod

Joleen Mataele – Tonga Leitis Association

Kumiko Matsumoto – Nijiiro-Kazoku (Rainbow Family Japan)

Sushant Naidu – Inspire Spiritual Communities and GIN-SSOGIE

Kakay Pamaran – Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad Cities (MCCQC), GIN-SSOGIE

Matcha Phornin – Sangsan Anakot Yawachon and  International Family Equality Day

Cha Roque – DAKILA Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism and CherryRed Films

Tiara Tu’ulua – Samoa Rainbow Families

Jac Tomlins, Founder – OUTspoken Families and Rainbow Families Australia

Maria von Känel – International Family Equality Day

Maivon Wahid –  International Family Equality Day

Woody Wang – Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy

Lana Woolf – Sparking Change and Edge Effect  

Mitch Yusof – SEED and Asia-Pacific Transgender Network

Lini Zurlia – ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, Indonesia  

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