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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Convention on Rights of the Child “cares” 29 times, U.S. nil

The United States of America refuses to join States Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child so why would anyone believe U.S. government officials' public emoting after the most recent domestic tragedy?  I don’t.
Re-reporting, editing, commentary by 
Carolyn Bennett

In today’s news reports, The United States remains one of only three United Nations Member States (the others Somalia and South Sudan) that have failed to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Public Interest and Human Rights Attorney Roy Morris said in a Press TV interview: The United States “as a matter of law still treats children as property.…

There’s no place to go:  you can’t even go to a federal court; the federal courts in the United States don’t want to deal with this issue.

Morris poses a critical question: “If the United States does not want to answer to the international community, how can it expect other countries of the world to answer to the international community?”

The United States, he says, “cannot hold the moral high ground if it does not want to ratify treaties like the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child” [Note: the United States recently dug in on its refusal to sign the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons].

 was curious about how often the text of the Convention on the Rights of the Child mentions “care.” 

I found 29 times. Here is some of the context of the Convention’s concern ─ and the United States’ unconcern ─ with care. 

Declaration of Human Rights
Preamble Paragraph 3

“Recalling that, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations has proclaimed that childhood is entitled to special care and assistance,

Preamble Paragraph 8

Bearing in mind that the need to extend particular care to the child has been stated in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924 and in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted by the General Assembly on 20 November 1959 and recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (in particular in articles 23 and 24), in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (in particular in article 10) and in the statutes and relevant instruments of specialized agencies and international organizations concerned with the welfare of children,

Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, ‘the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth,’ …

Have agreed as follows: …

Article 3

1. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

2. States Parties undertake to ensure the child such protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking into account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal guardians, or other individuals legally responsible for him or her, and, to this end, shall take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures.

3. States Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff, as well as competent supervision.

Article 7

1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

 Article 18

2. For the purpose of guaranteeing and promoting the rights set forth in the present Convention, States Parties shall render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities and shall ensure the development of institutions, facilities and services for the care of children.

3. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that children of working parents have the right to benefit from child-care services and facilities for which they are eligible.

Article 19

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child. 

Article 20

1. A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the State.
2. States Parties shall in accordance with their national laws ensure alternative care for such a child.

3. Such care could include, inter alia, foster placement, kafalah of Islamic law, adoption or if necessary placement in suitable institutions for the care of children. When considering solutions, due regard shall be paid to the desirability of continuity in a child’s upbringing and to the child’s ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background.

Article 21

(b) Recognize that inter-country adoption may be considered as an alternative means of child’s care, if the child cannot be placed in a foster or an adoptive family or cannot in any suitable manner be cared for in the child’s country of origin;

Article 23

2. States Parties recognize the right of the disabled child to special care and shall encourage and ensure the extension, subject to available resources, to the eligible child and those responsible for his or her care, of assistance for which application is made and which is appropriate to the child’s condition and to the circumstances of the parents or others caring for the child.

3. Recognizing the special needs of a disabled child, assistance extended in accordance with paragraph 2 of the present article shall be provided free of charge, whenever possible, taking into account the financial resources of the parents or others caring for the child, and shall be designed to ensure that the disabled child has effective access to and receives education, training, health care services, rehabilitation services, preparation for employment and recreation opportunities in a manner conducive to the child’s achieving the fullest possible social integration and individual development, including his or her cultural and spiritual development

4. States Parties shall promote, in the spirit of international cooperation, the exchange of appropriate information in the field of preventive health care and of medical, psychological and functional treatment of disabled children, including dissemination of and access to information concerning methods of rehabilitation, education and vocational services, with the aim of enabling States Parties to improve their capabilities and skills and to widen their experience in these areas. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

Article 24

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services.

2. States Parties shall pursue full implementation of this right and, in particular, shall take appropriate measures:

(a) To diminish infant and child mortality;

(b) To ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care to all children with emphasis on the development of primary health care;

(c) To combat disease and malnutrition, including within the framework of primary health care, through, inter alia, the application of readily available technology and through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking-water, taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution;

(d) To ensure appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers;

(e) To ensure that all segments of society, in particular parents and children, are informed, have access to education and are supported in the use of basic knowledge of child health and nutrition, the advantages of breastfeeding, hygiene and environmental sanitation and the prevention of accidents;

(f) To develop preventive health care, guidance for parents and family planning education and services.

3. States Parties shall take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children.

4. States Parties undertake to promote and encourage international cooperation with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the right recognized in the present article. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

Article 25

States Parties recognize the right of a child who has been placed by the competent authorities for the purposes of care, protection or treatment of his or her physical or mental health, to a periodic review of the treatment provided to the child and all other circumstances relevant to his or her placement.

Article 38

4. In accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population in armed conflicts, States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict.

Article 40

4. A variety of dispositions, such as care, guidance and supervision orders; counseling; probation; foster care; education and vocational training programs and other alternatives to institutional care shall be available to ensure that children are dealt with in a manner appropriate to their well-being and proportionate both to their circumstances and the offense.

(b) Whenever appropriate and desirable, measures for dealing with such children without resorting to judicial proceedings, providing that human rights and legal safeguards are fully respected.

he day before Human Rights Day University of Nebraska (Lincoln) political science professor Courtney Hillebrecht was published in the Journal Star. In her Local View article “Why treaty on rights of disabled matters,” this is some of what she wrote.

“There are well over 100 international human rights treaties and countless other domestic laws that codify the principles espoused in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In many ways the development of international and domestic human rights law reflects tremendous progress in the protection of human dignity. These treaties and laws serve as benchmarks against which citizens, allies and international organizations evaluate countries’ human rights performances.

“The notion of human rights has become so powerful that even the most egregious violators pay lip service to the idea of human rights. Some even ratify human rights treaties. The United States is a major exception to this trend of the international legalization of human rights.

“Despite Eleanor Roosevelt’s key role in developing the UDHR (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) and the United States’ long history of advocating for and protecting human rights at home and abroad, the United States has not ratified many — indeed most — international human rights treaties.

Of the nine core United Nations human rights treaties, the United States has ratified only three: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention against Torture.

The first week in December, she recounts, “The U.S. Senate failed to pass a resolution giving consent for the United States to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The convention gained 61 supporting votes but was six votes shy of the needed two-thirds majority.

“According to the United States International Council on Disabilities, the convention had support of more than 300 disability groups and 21 veteran organizations. The convention also garnered support from all Democratic and Independent senators and eight prominent Republicans.

“Critics of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, much like critics of other international human rights treaties, argued that the convention violated the United States’ sovereignty and would interfere in domestic politics.

“In reality, however, U.S. policy is consistent with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Ratification would have little, if any, effect on domestic laws or policies.

“If that is the case, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities would have little discernible effect on U.S. policy, why does it matter that the United States has not ratified this Convention or other human rights treaties?

“The answer to this question is two-fold,” Hillebrecht wrote.

First, ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a way of showing support for the disabled and veteran communities here at home.

Second, by promoting international human rights treaties, the United States can help strengthen the international legal and normative framework for human rights and help make human rights achievable for all people around the globe.

On the evidence of their actions, not mere oratory, decide for yourselves whether U.S. government officials are in the least bit concerned with universal human rights of or even U.S. constitutional guarantees for children or anyone else. 

Sources and notes

.S. on wrong side of history

Convention on the Rights of the Child States Parties
December 2012 update
Ratification, Acceptance(A), Accession(a), Succession(d)
27 Sep 1990
28 Mar 1994
26 Jan 1990
27 Feb 1992
26 Jan 1990
16 Apr 1993
2 Oct 1995
2 Jan 1996
14 Feb 1990
5 Dec 1990
Antigua and Barbuda
12 Mar 1991
5 Oct 1993
29 Jun 1990
4 Dec 1990
23 Jun 1993 a
22 Aug 1990
17 Dec 1990
26 Aug 1990
6 Aug 1992
13 Aug 1992 a
30 Oct 1990
20 Feb 1991
13 Feb 1992 a
26 Jan 1990
3 Aug 1990
19 Apr 1990
9 Oct 1990
26 Jan 1990
1 Oct 1990
26 Jan 1990
16 Dec 1991
2 Mar 1990
2 May 1990
25 Apr 1990
3 Aug 1990
4 Jun 1990
1 Aug 1990
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
8 Mar 1990
26 Jun 1990
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3
1 Sep 1993 d
14 Mar 1995 a
26 Jan 1990
24 Sep 1990
Brunei Darussalam
27 Dec 1995 a
31 May 1990
3 Jun 1991
Burkina Faso
26 Jan 1990
31 Aug 1990
8 May 1990
19 Oct 1990
15 Oct 1992 a
25 Sep 1990
11 Jan 1993
28 May 1990
13 Dec 1991
Cape Verde
4 Jun 1992 a
Central African Republic
30 Jul 1990
23 Apr 1992
30 Sep 1990
2 Oct 1990
26 Jan 1990
13 Aug 1990
China 4, 5
29 Aug 1990
2 Mar 1992
26 Jan 1990
28 Jan 1991
30 Sep 1990
22 Jun 1993
14 Oct 1993 a
Cook Islands
6 Jun 1997 a
Costa Rica
26 Jan 1990
21 Aug 1990
Côte d'Ivoire
26 Jan 1990
4 Feb 1991
Croatia 3
12 Oct 1992 d
26 Jan 1990
21 Aug 1991
5 Oct 1990
7 Feb 1991
Czech Republic 6
22 Feb 1993 d
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
23 Aug 1990
21 Sep 1990
Democratic Republic of the Congo
20 Mar 1990
27 Sep 1990
Denmark 7
26 Jan 1990
19 Jul 1991
30 Sep 1990
6 Dec 1990
26 Jan 1990
13 Mar 1991
Dominican Republic
8 Aug 1990
11 Jun 1991
26 Jan 1990
23 Mar 1990
Egypt 8
5 Feb 1990
6 Jul 1990
El Salvador
26 Jan 1990
10 Jul 1990
Equatorial Guinea
15 Jun 1992 a
20 Dec 1993
3 Aug 1994
21 Oct 1991 a
14 May 1991 a
2 Jul 1993
13 Aug 1993
26 Jan 1990
20 Jun 1991
26 Jan 1990
7 Aug 1990
26 Jan 1990
9 Feb 1994
5 Feb 1990
8 Aug 1990
2 Jun 1994 a
Germany 9
26 Jan 1990
6 Mar 1992
29 Jan 1990
5 Feb 1990
26 Jan 1990
11 May 1993
21 Feb 1990
5 Nov 1990
26 Jan 1990
6 Jun 1990
13 Jul 1990 a
26 Jan 1990
20 Aug 1990
30 Sep 1990
14 Jan 1991
26 Jan 1990
8 Jun 1995
Holy See
20 Apr 1990
20 Apr 1990
31 May 1990
10 Aug 1990
14 Mar 1990
7 Oct 1991
26 Jan 1990
28 Oct 1992
11 Dec 1992 a
26 Jan 1990
5 Sep 1990
Iran (Islamic Republic of)
5 Sep 1991
13 Jul 1994
15 Jun 1994 a
30 Sep 1990
28 Sep 1992
3 Jul 1990
3 Oct 1991
26 Jan 1990
5 Sep 1991
26 Jan 1990
14 May 1991
21 Sep 1990
22 Apr 1994
29 Aug 1990
24 May 1991
16 Feb 1994
12 Aug 1994
26 Jan 1990
30 Jul 1990
11 Dec 1995 a
7 Jun 1990
21 Oct 1991
7 Oct 1994 a
Lao People's Democratic Republic
8 May 1991 a
14 Apr 1992 a
26 Jan 1990
14 May 1991
21 Aug 1990
10 Mar 1992
26 Apr 1990
4 Jun 1993
15 Apr 1993 a
Liechtenstein 10
30 Sep 1990
22 Dec 1995
31 Jan 1992 a
21 Mar 1990
7 Mar 1994
19 Apr 1990
19 Mar 1991
2 Jan 1991 a
17 Feb 1995 a
21 Aug 1990
11 Feb 1991
26 Jan 1990
20 Sep 1990
26 Jan 1990
30 Sep 1990
Marshall Islands
14 Apr 1993
4 Oct 1993
26 Jan 1990
16 May 1991
26 Jul 1990 a
26 Jan 1990
21 Sep 1990
Micronesia (Federated States of)
5 May 1993 a
21 Jun 1993 a
26 Jan 1990
5 Jul 1990
Montenegro 11
23 Oct 2006 d
26 Jan 1990
21 Jun 1993
30 Sep 1990
26 Apr 1994
15 Jul 1991 a
26 Sep 1990
30 Sep 1990
27 Jul 1994 a
26 Jan 1990
14 Sep 1990
Netherlands 12
26 Jan 1990
6 Feb 1995 A
New Zealand 13
1 Oct 1990
6 Apr 1993
6 Feb 1990
5 Oct 1990
26 Jan 1990
30 Sep 1990
26 Jan 1990
19 Apr 1991
20 Dec 1995 a
26 Jan 1990
8 Jan 1991
9 Dec 1996 a
20 Sep 1990
12 Nov 1990
4 Aug 1995 a
26 Jan 1990
12 Dec 1990
Papua New Guinea
30 Sep 1990
2 Mar 1993
4 Apr 1990
25 Sep 1990
26 Jan 1990
4 Sep 1990
26 Jan 1990
21 Aug 1990
26 Jan 1990
7 Jun 1991
Portugal 4
26 Jan 1990
21 Sep 1990
8 Dec 1992
3 Apr 1995
Republic of Korea
25 Sep 1990
20 Nov 1991
Republic of Moldova
26 Jan 1993 a
26 Jan 1990
28 Sep 1990
Russian Federation
26 Jan 1990
16 Aug 1990
26 Jan 1990
24 Jan 1991
30 Sep 1990
29 Nov 1994
San Marino
25 Nov 1991 a
Sao Tome and Principe
14 May 1991 a
Saudi Arabia
26 Jan 1996 a
26 Jan 1990
31 Jul 1990
Serbia 3
12 Mar 2001 d
7 Sep 1990 a
Sierra Leone
13 Feb 1990
18 Jun 1990
5 Oct 1995 a
Slovakia 6
28 May 1993 d
Slovenia 3
6 Jul 1992 d
Solomon Islands
10 Apr 1995 a
9 May 2002
South Africa
29 Jan 1993
16 Jun 1995
26 Jan 1990
6 Dec 1990
Sri Lanka
26 Jan 1990
12 Jul 1991
St. Kitts and Nevis
26 Jan 1990
24 Jul 1990
St. Lucia
30 Sep 1990
16 Jun 1993
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
20 Sep 1993
26 Oct 1993
24 Jul 1990
3 Aug 1990
26 Jan 1990
1 Mar 1993
22 Aug 1990
7 Sep 1995
26 Jan 1990
29 Jun 1990
1 May 1991
24 Feb 1997
Syrian Arab Republic
18 Sep 1990
15 Jul 1993
26 Oct 1993 a
27 Mar 1992 a
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 3, 14
2 Dec 1993 d
16 Apr 2003 a
26 Jan 1990
1 Aug 1990
6 Nov 1995 a
Trinidad and Tobago
30 Sep 1990
5 Dec 1991
26 Feb 1990
30 Jan 1992
14 Sep 1990
4 Apr 1995
20 Sep 1993 a
22 Sep 1995 a
17 Aug 1990
17 Aug 1990
21 Feb 1990
28 Aug 1991
United Arab Emirates
3 Jan 1997 a
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 5, 15
19 Apr 1990
16 Dec 1991
United Republic of Tanzania
1 Jun 1990
10 Jun 1991
United States of America
16 Feb 1995
26 Jan 1990
20 Nov 1990
29 Jun 1994 a
30 Sep 1990
7 Jul 1993
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
26 Jan 1990
13 Sep 1990
Viet Nam
26 Jan 1990
28 Feb 1990
Yemen 16
13 Feb 1990
1 May 1991
30 Sep 1990
6 Dec 1991
8 Mar 1990
11 Sep 1990


Convention on the Rights of the Child [54 articles], Text in PDF Format, Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm

Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons, Proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 3447 (XXX) of 9 December 1975, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/res3447.htm

“United States fails to ratify UN Child Rights treaty,” December 19, 2012, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/12/19/278997/us-fails-to-ratify-uncrc-treaty/

“Despite legal protections for persons with disabilities, millions of Americans are deprived of their rights due to a lack of awareness and a failure to provide the disabled with reasonable accommodation in many areas of their lives.

“They still face considerable levels of discrimination in access to services, employment, education, and other areas.

“Today, more than 50 million people in the U.S., roughly 1 in 6, personally experience some form of disability, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages.”

“Local View: ‘Why treaty on rights of disabled matters’” (by Courtney Hillebrecht), December 9, 2012, http://journalstar.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/local-view-why-treaty-on-rights-of-disabled-matters/article_a3583ca2-ad60-5513-8d04-fdcba7c89c07.html

Courtney Hillebrecht is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol was adopted on December 13, 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. It was opened for signature on March 30, 2007.

The Convention had 82 signatories, 44 signatories to the Optional Protocol and 1 ratification to the Convention, the highest number of signatories in history to a UN Convention on its opening day.

 It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century and is the first human rights convention to be open for signature by regional integration organizations. The Convention entered into force on May 3, 2008. http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=14&pid=150


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