Alert to Action: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Childm
America Prepares for the Parental Rights Battle of the Decade
After years of debate within the international community between politicians and child’s rights activists, an agreement was finally reached in 1988, which for the first time created a comprehensive charter advancing the agenda of the children’s “liberation” movement. What the child’s rights advocates have for over two decades been unable to accomplish through the normal legislative process may now be realized in one sweeping blow, should the Clinton Administration push the Senate to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Under the guise of a “child’s rights” measure, this wolf in sheep’s clothing could, if passed, substantially undermine the authority of parents to exercise vitally important responsibilities toward their children if these responsibilities infringe on the child’s “right” to autonomy and self-expression as defined by a panel of “experts” appointed by the United Nations.
If ratified, this treaty could undermine the family by granting to children a list of radical “rights” which would be primarily enforced against the parents. These new “fundamental” rights would include “the right to privacy,” “the right to freedom of thought and association,” and the right to “freedom of expression.” A fundamental presumption of the treaty is that parental responsibility exists only in so far as parents are willing to further the independent choices of the child.
The Convention Would Redefine Family Law in America
The impact of the Convention is particularly ominous in light of the fact that the United States Constitution declares treaties to be the law of the land. Under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause of Article VI, “all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution of Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
In Missouri v. Holland, the Supreme Court held that a treaty made by the President with the required concurrence of two-thirds of the Senate is, under the Supremacy Clause of Article VI, section 2, part of the supreme law which takes precedent over contrary state laws. Thus, the U.N. Convention would constitute legally binding law in all 50 states. Otherwise valid state laws pertaining to education, the family, etc., which conflict with the provisions of the treaty will be subject to invalidation.
Were this convention to be enforced, the United States would be required to alter large portions of long established law to cater to the demands of the United Nations, and the panel of experts they select to define international standards for child's rights.
The Convention Would Give Children the “Right” to Disregard Parental Authority
Although several of the treaty’s provisions offer generally positive, nonoffensive platitudes, a substantial portion of this charter undermines parental rights. The U.N. Convention would:  transfer parental rights and responsibilities to the State;  undermine the family by vesting children with various fundamental rights which advance notions of the child’s autonomy and freedom from parental guidance; and  establish bureaucracies and institutions of a national and international nature designed to promote “the ideas proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations” and to investigate and prosecute parents who violate their children’s rights. Some of the more relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child are summarized below:
The State Will Determine the Child’s “Best Interest”
Article 3: “In all actions concerning children,” the courts, social service workers and bureaucrats are empowered to regulate families based on their subjective determination of “the best interests of the child.” This article shifts the responsibility of parental judgment and decision making from the family to the State (and ultimately the United Nations).
The Provisions of the Treaty Must Be Enforced
Article 4: This provision makes clear that the treaty is not just a positive affirmation. Signatory nations are bound to “undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures, for the implementation of the rights” articulated in the Convention. In fact, the United States would be required to “undertake measures to the maximum extent of available resources … within the framework of international cooperation” in order to restructure society in accordance with the implementation of these rights.
All Children Must Be Registered
Article 7: In order to insure State and U.N. control over their development, all children must be immediately registered after birth.
Severe Limitations Are Placed on the Parent’s Right to Direct and Train Their Children
Article 13: Under this provision, parents could be subject to prosecution for any attempt to prevent their children from interacting with material they deemed unacceptable. Children are vested with a “freedom of expression” right which is virtually absolute. No allowance is made for parental guidance. Section 1 declares a child’s right to “seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.”
Article 14: Children are guaranteed “freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” Children have a legal right to object to all religious training. Alternatively, children may assert their right against parental objection to participate in occult, Muslim or Buddhist worship services.
Article 15: This article declares “the right of the child to freedom of association.” If this measure were to be taken seriously, parents could be prevented from forbidding their child to associate with people deemed to be objectionable companions. Under Article 15, children could claim a “fundamental” right to join gangs, cults, and racist organizations over parental objection. Parental rights and responsibilities are unmentioned.
The Convention Would Further Entrench the Right of Teenagers to Abort Their Babies
The Convention is not only vague but contradictory when it comes to the critical issue of the right to life of an unborn child. Although some might argue that the language of Article 6 would favor the rights of unborn children, neither abortion nor unborn children are specifically mentioned. That provision reads: "Stated Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life." The fact that several of the signatory nations not only permit but as a matter of state policy actively encourage abortions among its citizenry lends further credibility to the view that this is not a pro-life measure.
Article 16: Any positive benefits resulting from the language of Article 6 are clearly undermined by the "right to privacy" purportedly granted to children under Article 16. Although the United States Constitution nowhere grants a woman the right to abort her baby, "privacy" was the operative word used by the Court in Roe v. Wade to create the right to abortion. This United Nations-sanctioned "privacy" would seemingly establish as "the law of the land" the child's right to obtain an abortion without parental notice, the right to purchase and use contraceptives, the right to heterosexual and homosexual promiscuity, and the right to pornography in the home.
The State Must Assist Parents in the Raising of Children
Article 18: This provision not only encourages two-income families by granting children a fundamental right to state-subsidized, state-run child care facilities, but it calls on the State to be co-parent by rendering "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."
Parents Who Don't Comply May Be Prosecuted
Article 19: This provision mandates the creation of an intensive bureaucracy for the purpose of "identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment, and follow-up" of parents who, in violation of the child's "rights," treat their children negligently.
A Prohibition on Corporal Punishment
Article 28: Education is declared a "right" which is not only to be universally free, but compulsory. This section would require that the United States pass laws and develop an infrastructure geared toward "encouraging" all school-age Americans to be part of the school system. The nations of the world are challenged to unite in the creation of an internationalist approach to education. Finally, parties to the Convention must ensure that school discipline "is administered in a manner consistent with the child's human dignity" as defined by the United Nations. Presumably this would prohibit corporal punishment.
Education for the New World Order
Article 29: It is the goal of the State to direct the education of the people it governs toward the philosophy of the New World Order as "enshrined in the charter of the United Nations." Each child must be prepared to be a responsible citizen by having "the spirit of understanding, peace, toleration, equity of sexes, and friendship [for] all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups of indigenous origin," including, presumably, cultic, anti-Christian religions, and those regimes which embody authoritarianism and intolerance.
International Experts Will Parent Our Children
Article 43: An international committee of 10 "experts" is to be established to oversee the progress of the implementation of the Treaty.
A Call to Action
Both the U.S. House and Senate have introduced resolutions requesting that the President sign the U.N. Convention. Once a treaty is signed by the President, it must be ratified by the U.S. Senate. Because the U.N. Convention is being promoted under the deceptive guise of a child's rights measure, it is likely that proponents will portray it as "noncontroversial" and attempt to rush it through the Senate approval process, in order to eliminate a long and protracted debate on its merits. Although the Clinton administration has yet to formally announce plans to sign the U.N. Convention and send it to the Senate for ratification, President and Mrs. Clinton have indicated their strong support of the child's rights agenda advanced by this treaty. Mrs. Clinton formerly chaired the Children's Defense Fund, a leading child's rights lobbying organization which has been a primary proponent of the U.N. Convention.
Currently, there are over 100 co-sponsors for House Concurrent Resolution 15 and over 30 co-sponsors for Senate Resolution 70. Voice your opposition to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child by contacting your U.S. Representative and Senators. The Capitol Switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.
This special report was prepared by Doug Phillips, Director of the Congressional Action Program. Permission is granted to reprint this report in its entirety.