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DOHA Declaration on the Family Ratified by the United Nations


Japan’s Birth Rate Hits “Record Low”


On 6December2004, commemorating the 10th anniversary of 1994’s International Year of the Family, pro-family forces gained what they consider to be a huge victory as the United Nations ratified the Doha declaration on the family, by a vote of 149-14. 

The Doha International Conference for the Family convened in Doha, Qatar, November 29-30, 2004 to explore and analyze the implications of Article 16(3) of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Dec1948) which proclaims, “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.”

The Doha Declaration further affirmed pro-family sentiments, including: “Every individual has the right to life…;” “A family composed of a husband, wife and children is the natural, basic element of a society and should be protected by society and by the State;” “Evaluate and reassess government population policies, particularly in countries with below replacement birthrates;” and, “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children,” among others.

Also, the Doha called on the UN to “Evaluate and reassess government population policies, particularly in countries with below replacement birthrates.”

The Doha Conference was organized by Qatar’s Supreme Council for Family Affairs to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Int’l Year of the Family, and also in response to the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/58/15, passed 15Dec2003.

Real Women of Canada’s Jan/Feb 2005 Reality newsletter pointed out that, despite the unanimous support of 149 countries present to ratify the Doha Declaration on 6Dec04, there were 14 (absent) dissenters, including Canada and the European Union.

The EU dissented to the Declaration, also preventing its own members Italy and Poland, who backed the Declaration, from supporting it. As one reporter noted, the EU thus “violated its own mandate not to interfere with the policies of its member nations”, raising the question of whether individual states enjoy true autonomy, as claimed, within the EU.

[United Nations; 21Feb2005,; HLI Special Report No. 243, 3/05; Full text of the Declaration
Baldock promotes Doha Declaration on the Family
International Conference Adopts Monumental Pro-Family Declaration
REAL Women of Canada’s Newsletter site (Jan/Feb 2005 not yet on line):]

THAILAND – There were 6.7 children per family in 1965; today, Thailand is below replacement rate at 1.7 children, a 74% decline. In this nation of 65 million, there are over 500,000 people infected with HIV/AIDS. [HLI Special Report]

JAPAN’S BIRTH RATE HITS “RECORD LOW” – Japan’s birthrate continues to fall, with a record low of 1.28 in 2004. The birthrate, which has been falling for decades, now ranks among the lowest in the world. I

t dropped 0.01 points from the previous low of 1.29 in 2003, making it the lowest recorded number of births in a year since records began there in 1899.

The country’s population will begin its decline next year, dropping from its current 128 million to 126 million by 2015, and to 101 million by 2050, bringing with it catastrophic effects.  Most fear the economic repercussions.

“A nation requires a certain scale in the population to continue its momentum, but in Japan, we are confronting a serious combination of a low birthrate and an aging nation,” said deputy director of Japan’s Education Ministry Kota Murase [Washington Post 3/05 report].

“Our pension system is already being tested to its limits. And with fewer young people in society, the question is: How are we going to sustain the elderly and the nation’s future? We don’t have a clear answer yet.”

The falling birthrate threatens to leave Japan with a labor shortage in decades to come and will eat away at the country’s tax base. It is also putting pressure on Japan’s national pension fund.

Demographers blame the late age of marrying and reluctance by women to forego careers and marry at all as primary reasons for the decline. In 2004, 1,107,000 babies were born – a drop of 17,000 from 2003 statistics, and the fourth straight drop annually. [related: Japan Facing Population Crisis with Baby Shortage -; Tokyo,, 26May05]