Mr. Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General
This year, the International Day of Families is dedicated to the theme of
"Families for all ages".
Held as part of the International Year of Older Persons, this day reminds us that families
can take many forms. As society undergoes constant cultural, political and social change,
so are families becoming increasingly diverse. The obligation to protect families,
enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, requires societies and States to
recognize and respect that diversity. It requires them to help every family ensure the
well-being and dignity of all its members, whatever their choices in life.
"Families for all ages" provides a focus on the importance of solidarity between
generations. That means people of all ages being able to rely on family support at every
stage of life. Older persons need the emotional and physical support of a family
environment, but their experience, wisdom and time also enable them to greatly enrich
On this International Day of Families, let us pay particular attention to those families
poverty, displaced by war or ravaged by AIDS. Struggling to function even in the most
basic way, these families need and must receive our help. Their fundamental rights, and
thereby the integrity of the entire human family to which they belong, are at stake.
Throughout the major conferences held under United Nations auspices over the past decade,
supporting and protecting families has been high on the agenda of the international
Today, let us rededicate ourselves to safeguarding this irreplaceable institution,
indispensable to the development of any society and to the future of all people.