Editor’s Note: Some good friends of the Texas Civil Rights Review have turned their focus to USA ratification of the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child (CRC). The following media advisory has been circulated to traditional press reps, but the group would also like to encourage coverage in the blogosphere.–gm
Why hasn’t the US ratified UN Convention for the Rights of the Child (CRC)?
AUSTIN TX–November 20 marks the 20th anniversary of the most universally ratified of all UN human rights treaties with 193 members. Two UN member nations have abstained from ratification to date: the United States and the failed state of Somalia. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice has recently broached the subject of U.S. ratification, and Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia) has introduced H.R. 416 which presses several human-rights issues, among them Senate ratification of Rights of the Child. It is time to correct this failure.
Rights of the Child USA is a coalition of organizations representing the interests of religious, education, health care, humanitarian, labor, legal, and social service communities nationwide with a focus on this single goal. Their activities will be reported at www.rightsofthechild.com.
But the story we highlight today is the reality behind our national failure to join the world community of good will in this action. It is this story that we ask you, the press, to highlight over the coming weeks. It encompasses complex issues, each deserving critical attention to help the American people understand their responsibility to act.
A few political organizations have succeeded in portraying the CRC as a threat to our families and our national sovereignty. Two decades of a Republican Congress, inspired by the largesse of such organizations as the Christian Coalition, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and the National Center for Home Education, have effectively prevented the U.S. from joining — indeed, leading — the rest of the world in this essential initiative.
CRC simply provides guidelines to establish the basic respect a child deserves from all adults, whether relatives, teachers, or strangers. It has no power to require parents to alter their own beliefs; rather it seeks to create a climate in which any child can achieve his/her potential through a loving society. Because the treaty has been operational in most nations since 1990, a wealth of information is available to show its effect on participants (see links below).
We invite you, the Fourth Estate, to make November 2009 a special month for the child. Below are some questions we ask you to explore, with research links. We thank you for honoring your essential role by addressing the understandable fears of some Americans, thus lighting our path toward this important decision and helping us to reimagine our country’s priorities about childhood.
What is the history and background of the Convention of the Rights of the Child?
AP article with comprehensive background info
How has CRC impacted countries that have adopted it?
Australia: A nation tending toward conservative leadership shows itself quite comfortable with the positive results from and lack of coercion exacted by CRC.
Child Rights Club in Zambia [pdf format]
And even in Hanoi!
How do children fare in the U.S.?
American Humane Assn: Annotated statistical summary of child life in America (2006).
Deportation by the U.S. government of some 90,000 unaccompanied Mexican children, dumped on border.
Pennsylvania judges charged with accepting $2.8 in kickbacks to send youths to private detention centers. AP October 30, 2009
Texas: 1201 deaths from child abuse 2001-07, other stats
How are our children doing compared with those of other countries?
Among the 30 member countries of the U.N. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, we’ve been rated 23rd in material well being, 24th in health and safety, and 25th in education [pdf format].
U.S. ranks number one for teen-age births?[pdf format]
How do the family values of anti-ROC organizations resonate with public policy?
For further research
US govt: America’s Children at a Glance
U. WS. DHHS Administration for Children and Families
Child Welfare Information Gateway
The Campaign for U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
Amnesty International on CRC
CONTACT: Rights of the Child USA, Jay Johnson Castro, 830 734 8636, jay at villadelrio dot com