Asking the Family Question

19 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2015

Date Written: 2004


Today, the international community is taking strides to address the needs/concerns of the family and to develop norms regarding its protection. However, principles of international law that address issues regarding the family are relatively new. Moreover, to date, these principles have primarily focused on certain specific rights, such as children's rights, women's rights, and child labor rights, rather than incorporating family well-being as a central aim of all international law and relations. This essay proposes a fundamental shift in the approach to international policy and law-making, as well as the engagement of international relations, to include a family-sensitive, culturally inclusive, and socially friendly perspective. This approach requires, as a central inquiry in any process of international norm creation, that the norm-makers ask what impact, if any, a particular international law or policy will have on children and families. It emphasizes the need for a holistic approach to all matters of international norm-making that includes the consideration of the impact of a norm on the "natural and fundamental unit of society" in any and all of its culturally diverse forms.

Keywords: International law and the family, Pasquale Mancini, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Suggested Citation

Hernández-Truyol, Berta Esperanza, Asking the Family Question (2004). Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 3, p. 481, 2004. Available at SSRN:

Berta Esperanza Hernández-Truyol (Contact Author)

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

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