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America Standing Alone? February 19, 2009

Posted by Daniel Downs in children, Constitution, family, freedom, parental rights, politics.

It’s an old and tired refrain: “Do as I say, and not as I do.” Only the ones saying it are not just ex-hippie parents, overweight athletic coaches, or Sunday School teachers with anger issues.

Now the refrain is being sung by the nations of the world to the United States of America. Sort of the “United Nations Concert Choir” in full symphony. They all want us to sign on to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and they want to embarrass us with references to Somalia if we don’t. But are they willing to do the very things they most desire of us?

If the United States Senate were to ratify the UNCRC, then under Article VI of our Constitution, that treaty would become “the supreme law of the land,” essentially self-executing. In a nation of laws such as ours, we would be obligated to implement every part of it in very short order. But the world doesn’t understand why we would “stand with Somalia” in refusing to pass all those restrictive laws in one broad stroke.

Standing with Somalia, incidentally, is not at all what we are doing. Somalia has no formal government, else they would probably have ratified the treaty themselves before now. Somalia is not taking any stand, and they are not with us. As has happened so often in history, and usually to our credit rather than shame, the United States is standing alone.

But are the 192 nations of the “choir” doing what they would ask us to commit ourselves to? Certainly not. In every case, they have chosen to exempt themselves from some aspect or other of this exhaustive “agreement.” Ironically, it seems to be an agreement to which no one can quite agree.

Pakistan, for instance, was embarrassed last week when representatives from various non-government organizations (NGO’s) met to criticize the nation’s report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. According to an article at The News (Pakistan), critics of the government’s report complained that it contained likely falsehoods, including over-reporting the number of teachers who had been trained in accordance with U.N. guidelines. They also noted that, although the nation ratified the treaty in November of 1990, the government has yet to fully incorporate its mandates into law. Parts of the agreement, including the mandate to provide U.N.-approved education, have been legislated, but never enforced. In addition, several provinces of Pakistan have passed no laws at all protecting children, and have no government agencies to aid children in need. Furthermore, though the government cites cooperation with NGO’s as a plus in its attempts to improve standards for children, critics say there is no way the few organizations can meet the needs of such a populous country. And the critics should know, since they represent those very NGO’s.[1]

China, meanwhile, has recently taken fire in a different venue, as fellow member states of the United Nations have called for a multitude of changes in China’s laws and policies on everything from children to prisoners to freedom of the press. Among the issues, according to an article at China Digital Times, is a recommendation from Finland that China “remove its reservation to the [sic] Article 6 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”[2] What is Article 6? That’s the fine little detail about guaranteeing children a right to live. China said “No, thank you,” to Finland’s suggestion, continuing to grant itself a “pass” on that particular part of the UNCRC. But China would urge us to sign on 100%. They can’t be bothered to ensure each child a right to live, but we have to sign away our national sovereignty on every issue remotely related to children.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child meets three times a year to review reports from a handful of countries on their compliance with the treaty. Most recently, they reviewed six national reports in January. Yet not one of these reports, ever, has been completely satisfactory. Not once has the committee responded to a nation state, “Congratulations, you are fulfilling your obligations under the UNCRC.” What does that mean? It means there isn’t a nation in the world that has fully adopted the CRC without reservations or omission. Not China, with its reservation against Article 6, or Pakistan, even fudging their numbers. Not a single country. Not one.

So maybe the United States isn’t really so “alone” after all. Maybe we’re just the only ones standing.

by Parental Rights.org


[1] http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=162207

[2] http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2009/02/united-nations-china-says-no-to-democracy-and-human-rights/



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