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De internationale verklaring van Langeac over
gelijkwaardig ouderschap


What is special about the Langeac Declaration as opposed to any other position statement on family rights?

Langeac is significant because it is the result of a deliberative meeting, in June 1999, of fifteen people from around the world in this little country town in the South of France. They agreed this document over a week of intensive discussion. Amongst these people were Christians, atheists, men, women, right-wingers, left-wingers from a spread of cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Since the document was debated and signed, many parents' groups and individuals from around the world have continued to sign it enthusiastically online.

The Declaration has continued to prove its relevance ever since. Its strength is demonstrated by the unabated influence it is having in countries ranging from mine - Holland - to Brazil, Argentina and New Zealand. The Declaration of Langeac can be found on the internet in six different languages, at www.familyroutes.org* and link sites around the globe. I have spoken about the Declaration in a meeting of the North-Shore Men's Centre in New Zealand. It has been discussed at conferences and meetings in Chile, the United States, the UK, Ireland, Spain and Germany, inter alia.

In Holland it has been professionally printed. The first print run has long since run out, new publications are being produced, and copies are still being sent out, even to the other side of the earth. We recently organised a conference on Langeac which was attended by parent support groups, professionals and social scientists. The Declaration has since played a part in negotiations with the Dutch Child Protection Service and the Dutch government. The ideas within it are normally given a friendly reception, even when they have yet to find legal expression.

I myself have written some articles in official Dutch Justice Department journals in which I refer to the Declaration, eg: article, where I compare the Declaration with developments in New Zealand (eg: the recent Shared Parenting Bill). All major developments and discussions in the countries currently in the vanguard of family law reform are in line with the Declaration. Not that the participants are all aware of its existence, but this makes the point if anything more valid. The Declaration is quite logical. It not only describes a widely held set of aspirations, but also has some predictive value.

The Langeac Declaration was conceived as a discussion document, one large step along the road towards a basic set of statutes, capable of achieving international consensus, across genders and belief systems, on the human rights of families and the acceptable limits of official intercession in family matters. I think the basic tenets of the Declaration will stand the test of time. We have to give a broader public, internationally, the opportunity to debate these possibilities in some form of congress or conference. This concept was already envisaged at the inception of the Declaration, which is ideally suited as a jumping off point, being internationally conceived, multi-language, non-partisan, succint, but relatively comprehensive. I think we should place the emphasis on strategy: how to discuss the issues and how to implement the results.

The layout of the Dutch printed version is freely available in Mac-format. You just have to fit in your language-text.

Yours,

met vriendelijke groet

Joep Zander
http://joep.nl.nu

..................................................................... Text of Langeac Declaration + list of initial co-signatories
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