Despite opposition from gay advocacy groups, the U.N. approved a resolution recognizing traditional values such as human dignity, freedom and responsibility as key in protecting human rights worldwide.
“Emphasizing connections between traditional values and human rights will ensure better understanding and recognition of human rights,” reads a statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry after the resolution passed.
On Sept. 27, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution entitled “Encouraging Human Rights and Main Human Freedoms through Deeper Understanding of Traditional Mankind Values.”
The resolution, which had more than 60 co-authoring countries, was initiated by the Russian Federation to recognize the link between traditional values and a respect for human rights.
A drafting committee presented a preliminary study focused on dignity, freedom and responsibility as traditional human values, highlighting their connection with essential human rights. It also discussed the role of the family, community, law, educational institutions and religion in promoting respect for these rights.
“Human rights arise from the dignity and freedom of the individual and his or her responsible behaviour in respect of society and other people,” the study said.
These traditional values “are universal and underpin all human rights,” it explained. Recognizing these values therefore “promotes the universal acceptance of human rights.”
“All international human rights agreements, whether universal or regional, must be based on, and not contradict, the traditional values of humankind,” it stressed.
The preliminary study recognized the family as “the first social unit that the child encounters,” important in transmitting “fundamental moral and ethical patterns” to future generations.
It explained that “the family is not only the fundamental group of society, but also the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and the full and harmonious development of the child.”
However, after criticism from gay advocacy groups, the study was rewritten into a new draft that dismissed the idea of universal values and presented traditional values as being in conflict with human rights.
The new draft removed the sections on family, religion and law and instead discussed the “negative impact of traditional values on women and minority groups, and efforts to overcome it.”
Warning that “deeply rooted religious, cultural and moral values” may pose an obstacle to the recognition of gay rights, it argued that states are obligated to change or remove “negative traditional values and practices.”
Stefano Gennarini, director of the Center for Legal Studies at the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, explained that the international community has worked for years to protect its values.
“This is the third resolution on traditional values to pass since 2009,” he said in an Oct. 2 publication for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.
He noted that U.S. President Barack Obama has issued a directive ordering “all federal agencies dealing with U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance to promote LGBT rights,” despite the fact that many countries find the homosexual lifestyle immoral and oppose its promotion.
“The European and U.S. delegations repeatedly complained that ‘traditional values’ is a vague concept used to justify violence and discrimination against women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) persons,” Gennarini said.
However, they “failed to sway enough countries with that argument,” he explained.
In its statement applauding the resolution’s approval, the Russian Federation expressed “regret” over the fact that both the United States and the European Union opposed the document.
“We think that no state or group of states has the right to monopolize interpretation of human rights regulations,” it said, warning that attempts to “advance one-dimensional interpretation” of human rights only makes the concept “foreign” to entire populations.
“The Russian Federation, together with the opinion allies, will continue promoting the idea of inseparable connection of human rights and traditional moral values in the Human Rights Council,” it concluded.