International Day of Families – May 15

International Day of Families – May 15


On September 20, 1993, the United Nations General Assembly resolved that on May 15 of each year the International Day of Families be celebrated.

The family is one of the oldest institutions, but despite that it has not remained static. They all go through different stages throughout their life cycle, so we must speak of families and not family: changing, diverse and constantly evolving in step with social changes.

Likewise, in terms of promoting and protecting the rights of children and adolescents, families play a fundamental role in various aspects of the development of the child or adolescent to the extent that the family environment is their primary space for socialization, where they share with their fathers, mothers or caregivers, who in turn must be co-responsible and guarantors of rights.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) establishes three guarantors of rights: the State, the Society and the Family; regarding the latter, the CRC stipulates in its preamble the right for every child and adolescent to grow and develop in a family, recognizing that this is the ideal space for their integral development. In this sense, the preamble of the CRC establishes:

“(…) Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community, recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.”

In this sense, families, in their role as guarantor, should be responsible for creating/generating conditions of respect and exercise of the rights contained in the Convention. However, in many cases it does not happen this way, unfortunately being one of the areas where the rights of children and adolescents are most violated.

This fact was aggravated by the health emergency context generated by COVID-19, increasing cases of family violence, specifically against children and adolescents. But it had been denounced years ago by children and adolescents themselves in different spaces, in the recent Pan-American Child Forum (Colombia 2019) children and adolescents from the Americas pointed out:

“Family is the natural environment for children and adolescents, the CRC mentions that children must grow under the wing of their family; however, children that live in institutions that care for them do not live under that right.

“In some families, children and girls are ill-treated, they are forced to work. As a recommendation, we call for the implementation and strengthening of institutions that protect children and families, and for the assurance of social protection and the protection of recreational spaces.”

“Non-nuclear families have been disregarded not only by society, but also by the government. For example, in education, there is no guidance regarding the formation of extended families, which is causing harm to children and adolescents belonging to this type of families. Therefore, we call for programs that provide guidance that will make it possible to understand the formation of different family typologies.”

Based on the above, the IIN-OAS consider that in times like these it is important to take up the guiding principles of the Convention: the best interests of the child, non-discrimination, participation, etc., and take them as a guide to continue promoting the interinstitutional, interdisciplinary and intergenerational work together with the governing bodies of childhood and other organizations, having as a horizon the promotion and protection of the rights of children and adolescents. Work in which the guarantors of rights (state, society and family) are fundamental allies together with collectives and organized groups of children and adolescents.