The Family & Traditional Values regional seminar series brings together great experts (activists, scholars, theologians, religious leaders and human rights advocates) in a number of Global South contexts to develop counter narratives and strategies to right wing religious messaging which have become predominant in international political spaces. The expertise developed is regionally and contextually located, and in turn aims to educate and bolster existing formal human rights strategies and local campaigns.
The first seminar gathered 25 participants to discuss issues related to faith, family and traditional values, within a Sub-Saharan African context and to explore and develop counter-messages to those deployed by religious right-wing groups in regional and international human rights spaces, which we are seeing as increasingly dominated by conservative, static, ill-thought through, politicized messages around family, traditional values, faith and culture. It took place in Johannesburg in February 2018, and produced the Johannesburg Declaration (http://www.gin-ssogie.org/johannesburg-declaration/) which addresses Christianity, Islam and African Traditional spirituality, and which we are in the process of disseminating to our networks and partners. Fact sheets can be found here.
The second seminar took place in Bangkok, Thailand in November 2018, and brought together participants from 8 Asian countries (with a stronger focus on South East Asia) from a broad range of faith traditions, including Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Christian and indigenous spiritualities. It produced the Silom Manifesto which is available here.
Some of the content from the first 2 seminars was notably introduced in our advocacy strategy, including digital advocacy. We collaborated with AWID, during the May 15th 2019 International Day of Families, to develop key messages for policy makers and social leaders.
The third seminar took place in San Leopoldo, Brasil in August 2019 and gathered experts from Central and South America from a range of religions and faith traditions including Christianity, Judaism, and Traditional Spiritualities. It produced the San Leopoldo Declaration which is available here.
This year, in 2020, we are planning the 4 next seminars. Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, which is affecting us all in all corners of the world, we have moved our gatherings online. We will be planning a seminar for the following regions: the Pacific, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Asia, from May 2020 onwards. We will also be planning a UN side event, for the upcoming Human Rights Council session (HRC44), in June 2020 on “Respecting Diverse Families” which will notably introduce some of the research and expertise from our first 3 seminars.