By Sofia Martinez and Neydy Casillas of Alliance Defending Freedom
The defense of life and family did matter during the General Assembly of the Organization of American States that was taking place in Asuncion, Paraguay, June 2-5, even though media reports said otherwise.
The OAS General Assembly takes place every year in a different city of the American continent. This year, the assembly was convened to discuss and exchange ideas on “development and social inclusion.”
A group of approximately 60 people representing pro-life and pro-family organizations from 10 countries, including Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, and Mexico, participated actively in the dialogues about civil society with OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza. Some of the proposals presented by these groups was the inclusion of the family and the creation of public policies that seek to strengthen it througout the member states, addressing how their government must face the problem of inequality that permeates the greater part of the American continent.
Alliance Defending Freedom considered it important to emphasize that the reduction of poverty and advancing education are problems that can be addressed by strengthening the family. The relationship between parents and their children is essential in order to improve their educational level, since the more involved parents are, the more successful their children’s academic results will be. The best indicator of success for a student isn’t his or her income or social status, but the involvement of the family, as these students are more likely to attend school regularly, have better social skills, better grades, and generally continue their education after middle school. The family depends on the protections and freedoms that the state can provide. At the same time, government depends on families to raise healthy and committed children that will eventually grow up to be citizens that will contribute positively to society. Poverty is a clear obstacle for a family to be able to provide for its children, and that is why the push for the OAS to focus on the family and the elimination of poverty were so strong.
The numerous interventions asking for the OAS to take a stand and protect life from the moment of conception until natural death, forced the organization to create a work space for pro-life and pro-family groups for the first time in history. Even though there was an attempt from other groups to sabotage this space and silence the voice of thousands of people from all over the American continent, represented by those in Paraguay, positive conclusions resulted. Among the most important is that the family is the foundation of society, and that life must be protected from the moment of conception until natural death, which were presented and read before the secretary general and the representatives of all the member states.
Although treated disrespectfully by groups who turned their backs on the secretary general and state representatives while the pro-life and pro-family statement was read, claiming it as “hate speech,” the different pro-life and pro-family organizations that participated in this year’s OAS General Assembly finally became a voice. It is a voice that has become active, a voice that participates, a voice that opposes the pro-abortion and homosexual agenda, and a voice that will be silenced no more.
–Sofia Martinez is legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom in Mexico City. Neydy Casillas is legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom in Washington, D.C.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an international alliance-building legal organization that advocates for religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and marriage and the family. Alliance Defending Freedom is at the forefront of legal battles in these areas, with more cases before the European Court of Human Rights than any other faith-based legal organization, and involvement in numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Alliance Defending Freedom has an alliance of nearly 2,400 attorneys worldwide. ADF is also accredited with the European Parliament, EU Fundamental Rights Agency, Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, and Organization for American States, and has consultative status with the United Nations.