November 20, 2009 is the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). According to UNICEF, "The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights."
Only two United Nations member states have not ratified it: Somalia and the United States.
Did you just say, "What?" Yeah, me too.
I'm not entirely sure why the U.S. hasn't ratified the Convention. It seems like a no-brainer. According to The Huffington Post article, Obama Administration Seeks To Join U.N. Rights Of The Child Convention, "[O]pponents in the U.S. have long argued that it could open the door to outside interference from government and U.N. officials in what they say are parents' rights to raise a child as they see fit."
I know the Obama Administration has a ton on its plate right now, but I mean, come on--it's children's rights: things like non-discrimination, protection from abuse, and protection for children without families, refugee children, and children with disabilities. Do we really need to think hard about this one?
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has launched an online petition urging President Obama and the U.S. Congress to ratify the agreement. Amnesty International also has a sample letter template you can send to your Senator, and has created an unofficial summary of the 42 main provisions of the Convention for you to peruse.
If you know of a good reason why we shouldn't ratify this let me know, 'cause I can't think of one.
- U.S. Fund for UNICEF's Field Notes
- Amnesty International USA's Human Rights Now
- International Rescue Committee's Voice from the Field
Cross-posted from BlogHer.com.
Full disclosure: I have donated to Amnesty International and UNICEF.