Under the cloak of combating domestic violence, the Istanbul Convention seems to want to impose gender ideology on the European states, as shown in the my previous article. Therefore many Eastern European states and pro-family NGOs protest against the implementation of the Istanbul Convention. But it does not stop there. The Polish NGO Ordo Iuris proves that the legitimate concern to prevent domestic violence does not have to be accompanied by an attack on the family.

In 2018 the Polish “Institute for Legal Culture” drafted a Convention on the Rights of the Family, which contains legal and political principles for the protection of marriage and family. “The document is intended as an alternative to the Istanbul Convention, often misleadingly referred to as the ‘Anti-Violence Convention’. This act, under the cloak of fighting domestic violence, weakens the family, which it depicts as a source of pathology. In fact, it is precisely strong family, which constitutes the most effective shelter against violence for all its members,” explains Karina Walinowicz, a lawyer at Ordo Iuris.

The family is the best setting for human development

In an accompanying brochure to the Family Rights Convention, Walinowicz and her colleagues Rozalia Kielmans-RatytÅ„ska and Dr. Tymoteusz Zych demonstrate that violence against women in particular is on the rise in countries where ideological models such as the “Istanbul Convention” are applied. In contrast, other studies show that children, who grow up with their married parents, and married women are significantly less likely to be victims of violence.

Summing up the authors write: “The family is proven to be the best setting for human development and the most effective shield against violence. In the face of an unprecedented attack that the institution of family experiences today, it needs to be safeguarded, also at the international level.”

There are many scientific studies proving these assumptions to be true. Recently Nicole M. King put together several studies from the last few years showing “that children living in homes with their married, biological parents are safer than any other category of children. It is children in broken homes who are at increased risk.”

Principles for the good of the family

In this sense, the Family Rights Convention describes the necessary state measures to protect all family members from violence (Art. 34-41), in particular prevention and education (Art. 35) and protection of victims from violence and abuse (Art. 40). In addition, the natural rights of spouses, parents and children are explained in detail. Contrary to the general trend of ideological reinterpretation of elementary concepts, marriage is understood here as the unity between a man and a woman on which the family is based. Both – marriage and family – are unique and natural institutions that precede the state. Consequently, parents are the first responsible for the education of their children.

Although the individual provisions are equally fundamental, they also respond to current dangers or abuses. Among other things, they emphasize the principle of subsidiarity in the relationship between the family and the State (Art. 4), the legal protection of the child before and after birth (Art. 5) and the end of discrimination against mothers and families with many children (Art. 14).

The authors attach great importance to the freedom of parents to choose the education of their children according to their religious and moral convictions (Art. 16, 19, 20). At the same time, according to the Convention, every child has the right to know his or her father and mother or to be educated by them (Art. 26, 27).

International protection of marriage and family

“The aim of the Convention is to create a legal guarantee of the identity and autonomy of the family, which have been increasingly undermined in recent years, including by international institutions with no mandate to do so,” says Dr. Zych of Ordo Iuris. Therefore “we need a coalition of states based on a treaty that clearly protects family and marriage”. The Convention also calls for the establishment of an International Commission for its implementation in the States Parties (Art. 42-45).

In March 2019, several international family policy and church organizations issued an International Declaration in support of the Convention. Unfortunately in many countries the call has not been heard yet. But the Convention on the Rights of the Family deserves political attention. It would be a valuable step towards protecting marriage and the family and an important contribution to the prevention of violence.