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May 3, 2007

House Resolution 48 and House Concurrent Resolution 69: U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child

Authors:
Representative Berg

Summary:
Thank you for your swift and persistent action against the two resolutions introduced in the House urging the adoption of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Your calls and the attendance of several individuals at various hearings made a difference.

While the single-house resolution, House Resolution 48, did pass, your calls influenced seven representatives to vote against the resolution. Another five representatives were excused from the vote. Since most resolutions sail through, this does amount to substantial accomplishment.

Status:

3/14/2007Passed International Affairs Committee 11-0
4/2/2007(House) Passed Human Services and Housing Committee 4-3
4/12/2007(House) Adopted as amended in the House
4/18/2007Transmitted to the Senate
4/18/2007(Senate) Referred to the Senate Human Services and Housing Committee / Transportation and International Affairs Committee
4/27/2007(Senate) Adopted by the Senate

HSLDA's Position:
This bill was opposed.

Action Requested:
No further Action Needed

Background:
The House Human Services and Housing Committee voted 4 to 3 in favor of H.R. 48 and H.C.R. 69. However, this is a positive step forward since just a little over a week ago the House International Affairs Committee voted unanimously to pass the resolutions with a few minor changes.

Some of the contents of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child include a child’s:

  • Right to Freedom of Expression: This right shall include the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds through any other media of the child’s choice.
  • Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion: The state would only need to respect a parent’s “rights and duties...to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right.” Thus, a child could join a cult and prevent the parent from interfering with his or her “right” to do so.
  • Right to Freedom of Association: A child could determine who his or her friends are against parents’ wishes.
  • Right to Privacy: A child could not be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence. This could include a right to abortion or sexual activity.
  • Right to Mass Media: This right would ensure the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources.

In order to enforce these “rights” a child would simply have to call a social worker to report their parents for violating their rights.

If this treaty becomes binding on the United States, the government would have the power to intervene in a child’s life “for the best interest of the child.” Currently, the government can intervene in this fashion only by going to court and proving that parents have been abusive or have neglected their children. (This standard also applies in divorce cases on the presumption that the family unit has been broken.) This means that whenever the U.N.-dominated social services system thought that your parental choices were not the best, the government would have the power to override your choices and protect your child from you.

If this treaty becomes binding, all parents would have the same legal status as abusive parents, because the government would have the right to override every parental decision if it deemed the parent’s choice contrary to the child’s best interest.

The ability to homeschool one’s children would become not a right, but a U.N.-supervised activity that could be overturned if social services personnel believed that it would be “best” for your child to receive a different kind of education.

Spanking would be banned under the express terms of the UNCRC. Moreover, children would be required to be taught in a religiously “tolerant manner.” (The American Bar Association, which supports the treaty, has already opined that teaching children that Jesus is the only way to God violates the spirit and meaning of the UNCRC.)

These are not idle speculations, but the proven result of the U.N.’s own interpretation of the treaty as they have reviewed other nations’ compliance with the treaty’s provisions. For more information about the concerns with the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child please see our issue analysis on the topic.

 Other Resources

April-24-2007—Hawaii—Update: Calls Needed on Joint U.N. Resolution!

Bill Text (html)

Bill History