Human Rights at Risk: Lessons from the Political Network for Values Transatlantic Summit IV

On May 25-26, I and Family Watch International’s Caribbean Coordinator, Rebekah Ali-Gouveia, traveled to Budapest, Hungary to attend the well-known Political Network for Values (PNfV) Transatlantic Summit IV, a worldwide gathering of pro-life and pro-family politicians and civil society.


Over 200 distinguished speakers and panelists attended the Summit and represented more than 30 nations from around the globe including from Africa, Europe and North and South America. You can read a brief synopsis of the Summit here, and view the program here.


During the three-day conference with the very apt theme, “Freedom at stake: Building and strengthening a pro-freedom agenda globally,” many esteemed senior government officials and well-respected civil society leaders spoke about the greatest threats to freedom in their nations, regional and intergovernmental bodies and communities.


Of the many important and informative speeches delivered, our friend and colleague, Gregor Puppinck, of the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), discussed the global corruption of human rights, sharing noteworthy findings from recent ECLJ reports regarding the NGOs and judges of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the financing of United Nations “experts” at the Human Rights Council (HRC). You can watch the video of his speech or read the transcript here.


One of the concerns raised in Puppinck’s report on funding UN “experts” includes the unequal treatment and funding of mandate holders. For example, those independent experts whose political agendas align with donors receive much larger budgets. Similarly, the amount and purposes of financing reporting are increasingly vague and sometimes even omitted.


ECLJ reports that “Between 2015 and 2019 there were eighteen cases in which the amount of a particular donation was not specified.” In addition, “Between 2015 and 2019, out of 439 donations that were made out to experts (in cash or in kind, whether through the OHCHR or not), 143 did not have a declared purpose.”


Perhaps most shocking is the ECLJ rightly questioning the “independence” of the experts, who are [supposed to be] chosen for their subject matter expertise and ability to act autonomously on current issues of human rights concerns.


It should be noted that the main beneficiaries for independent experts are individual funders, foundations and universitiestroubling to say the least. Many experts regularly meet with their donors to discuss their mandates, as well as provide regular updates and reports. There is no public record of these meetings.


Not only are donors funding special projects and interests, but they have gone a step further in actually recruiting independent experts after their election as mandate holders. Several specific incidents are reported in the full ECLJ report here.


Family Watch is developing a strategy to further engage on the vital findings from this report, including on the upcoming renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) scheduled for the 50th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) currently going on now.


We have written about this deceptive mandate extensively, here and here. You can learn more about our many concerns, including the current independent expert’s very problematic reports here. You can also read our submission opposing the creation of special rights or treatment based on behaviors to the independent expert’s request for input here.


As the SOGI mandate resolution is soon introduced, please join Family Watch in opposing the renewal of the SOGI mandate by signing our petition here and sharing both the petition and ECLJ’s excellent report with your friends and family.


Annie Franklin, our Director of International Activities, is currently in Geneva attending the HRC session and will send a reporting of important meetings, critical issues of concern and ways you can help spread the word to stop this dangerous mandate.


We encourage you to sign our petition here now and let your voice be heard as soon as the SOGI mandate renewal is introduced at the HRC.


As always, we appreciate your support in these most concerning times and believe that together we can overcome the many threats to life and family.