HSLDA News
April 28, 2003

UN Rebukes Britain For Failing To Implement Children's Treaty

Last fall the United Nations published its observations on how the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has implemented the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (C/ROC). The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) gave consideration to the reports submitted by the United Kingdom in September 2002 and published a response under article 44 of the Convention. This report is of grave concern to homeschool families and is an example of how the Committee would seek to have control over US policy if this treaty were ratified by America.

The UN seeks to push nations that sign on to C/ROC to adopt radical measures on children's rights that would subvert the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. Following is a list of excerpts from the committee's report.

On Consideration of Children's Feelings in Decision Making

The Committee on the Rights of the Child is "concerned that in education, schoolchildren are not systematically consulted in matters that affect them. The Committee notes that groups of children in the State party expressed their feelings that their views are duly taken into consideration." (Section 29)

On Corporal Punishment in Schools

"The Committee welcomes the abolition of corporal punishment in all schools in England, Wales and Scotland following its 1995 recommendations (ibid., para. 32), but is concerned that this abolition has not yet been extended to cover all private schools in Northern Ireland." (Section 35)

On Corporal Punishment in the Home

"[T]he Committee deeply regrets that the State party persists in retaining the defense of 'reasonable chastisement' and has taken no significant action towards prohibiting all corporal punishment of children in the family. The Committee is of the opinion that the Government's proposals to limit rather than to remove the 'reasonable chastisement' defense do not comply with the principles and provisions of the Convention and the aforementioned recommendations, particularly since they constitute a serious violation of the dignity of the child... Moreover, they suggest that some forms of corporal punishment are acceptable, thereby undermining educational measures to promote positive and non violent discipline. (Sections 36 & 37)

"The Committee recommends that the State party:

  1. With urgency adopt legislation throughout the State party to remove the "reasonable chastisement" defense and prohibit all corporal punishment in the family and in any other contexts not covered by existing legislation;

  2. Promote positive, participatory and non violent forms of discipline and respect for children's equal right to human dignity and physical integrity, involving children and parents and all those who work with and for them, and carry out public education programs on the negative consequences of corporal punishment." (Section 38)

On Sex Education
"The Committee is concerned that homosexual and transsexual young people do not have access to the appropriate information, support and necessary protection to enable them to live to their sexual orientation."

The United Kingdom must "take further necessary measures to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies through, inter alia, making health education, including sex education, part of the school curricula, making contraception available to all children . . . provide adequate information and support to homosexual and transsexual young people." (Section 43)

On Private Education
The Committee advises the United Kingdom to "evaluate the impact of privatization of schools on the right of children to education."

Conclusion
These recommendations are not surprising. They demonstrate why the Home School Legal Defense Association opposes international treaties that would place American domestic policy under international control. We believe C/ROC is one of the most dangerous attacks on parental rights ever. Fortunately the United States has not ratified this treaty and therefore does not adhere to such recommendations. However, HSLDA will continue to monitor any UN activity that would adversely affect family freedom in the United States.