Exclusive: How the Convention on the Rights of the Child Will Destroy Family Sanctity
May 3, 2010
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international treaty commonly referred to as CRC, is one of the greatest threats to parental rights our country has ever witnessed. Fasten your seatbelts for the fight for ratification.
The CRC’s devastating impact on American children and their families can be seen easily in the text of the treaty and its application in both foreign states and in recent U.S. court decisions. Do not be misled by the arguments of American legislators, legal scholars and transnationalists who say U.S. ratification of the CRC would prove our commitment to the protection of the world’s children and their rights to the international community. The CRC is in no way a harmless treaty; it is an instrument used by transnationalists for widespread social change, beginning right here in our own country. Similar to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) treaty, U.S. ratification will in no way provide the children of the world with any additional forms of protections they don’t already enjoy under United States law, just as CEDAW affords women no rights beyond what they currently enjoy under U.S. law.
The 54 articles within the treaty do not provide American children with any protection from any dangers that they do not already enjoy in the U.S. We have domestic legislation that prohibits children from being forced to serve in the military and that criminalizes child prostitution and sexual exploitation, but our nation has always left matters regarding the raising of our children to their parents. During the most recent presidential campaign and since his election, President Obama has, on numerous occasions, expressed his deep commitment to satisfying the desires of internationalists verses protecting Americans’ basic freedoms and sovereignty, disregarding all precedent set by former administrations on these issues. President Bill Clinton signed the CRC in 1995 but never submitted it to the Senate for advice and consent, as he knew the treaty would be dead on arrival. President George W. Bush chose not to push for Senate ratification, as he fully recognized the threat that the CRC presented to American sovereignty. However there has been a surge in the push for the United States to ratify the CRC since Obama took office.
Mr. Obama’s tremendous dependence on multilateralism is why he believes the CRC is needed and why he has no qualms in surrendering American sovereignty and Americans’ parental rights to the international community. The President has made it clear that he does not believe in American exceptionalism and the role that America plays as the sole super power. It is therefore natural to see why he believes that it takes a village, or in his case a community, to raise our children. It seems fitting that a former community organizer would trust in the community over the individual to raise our children. American families must be on alert because the right to raise our children is under assault. Supporters of the CRC will argue that the United States and Somalia are the only nations not to ratify the CRC and that, if we do not wish to be in this company, we must ratify the treaty. American families must not willingly surrender their sovereignty and parental rights just to satisfy this shallow internationalist argument. The U.S. has a proud history of governing ourselves and this argument fails to provide any real substantive reasoning as to how the United States and our children will benefit from U.S. ratification.
American families must be aware that, should the U.S. ratify the CRC, parents will take a back seat to raising their own children, and the nannies in blue helmets will be jumping into the driver’s seat to serve as their international parents. Once in control of the driver’s seat, these nannies in blue helmets will exert their control over our children’s education regarding such issues previously in the domain of parents, such as sexual behavior and homosexuality. They will also work to dismantle the current structure of American homeschooling and they will work tirelessly to allow girls under the age of 18 the right to access contraceptive medicine and abortions without parental consent.
Should the United States choose to ratify the CRC, we would be surrendering a basic human right: the right to raise our children in a manner that we, as parents, see fit. Contemporary legal scholars, international courts and even recent U.S. court decisions have repeatedly acknowledged that the CRC is a national commitment to honor the CRC’s provisions and to implement its principles, not a tool used to secure greater protection for children around the world. Ratification of this treaty would further weaken American sovereignty, however, as the CRC treaty would become the supreme law of the land under Article VI of our Constitution.
Ardent proponents of the CRC are not aggressively pushing the treaty in the United States because of their deep concern over the welfare of the world’s children. This foreign treaty is the only tool available to them to force the United States to accept their deepest legislative desires. These desires include giving girls under the age of 18 – without parental consent – access to contraceptive medication, condoms and abortion on demand; the dismantling of our current homeschooling system in the United States; and the elimination of the death penalty for juveniles. Each American family and community should have the right to decide for themselves on these issues. The American family and our nation are perfectly capable to determine their own policies on these matters and they do not need a foreign entity to take the wheel from them. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has been charged with evaluating member-states’ compliance and also with enforcing the provisions of the treaty. The Committee’s reports have repeatedly recommended that member-states ensure that the principles of the treaty be “understood, appropriately integrated and implemented in all legal provisions.”
Similar to the CEDAW Enforcement Committee, the Committee on the Rights of the Child is comprised of United Nations-determined “experts of high moral standing and recognized competence” in the topics addressed by the CRC. These unelected “experts” have consistently shown their egregious disregard for parental rights and states’ sovereignty. These blue-helmeted nannies of the international community are preparing to battle American parents over who has the best interests of the child at heart, the parent(s) or the transnationalist bureaucrats of the United Nations.
The first piece of evidence that the CRC is a threat to American sovereignty comes from a United Nations Children’s’ Fund (UNICEF) statement about the treaty. UNICEF insists the CRC is not a mere statement of altruism. It is a “legally binding instrument” of “non-negotiable standards and obligations,” which would trump existing American laws that conflict with it. The Committee on the Rights of the Child believes that all the States Parties of the treaty, which would include American families, courts and policy makers if the United States ratified the treaty, must adhere to the provisions within the treaty. The CRC is a clear attempt to strike down the philosophy of self- governance and the sanctity of the family. American families must also fully understand that The Committee on the Rights of the Child is completely aware of Article VI of the United States Constitution and that the CRC will become the supreme law of the land if ratified.
Since the treaty’s 1989 inception, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has used the treaty as a vehicle to express their transnationalist vision of wrestling authority away from parents and handing it over to the international community instead. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has taken it upon themselves to issue rulings, based on their interpretation of the CRC, on a wide array of issues and topics including - but not limited to - sex education, home schooling, children’s right to privacy from their parents, abortion and parental consent laws, access to contraceptives and contraceptive medication, religious teaching, day care vs. parents raising children at home and the death penalty for juveniles. The CRC, in conjunction with CEDAW, delves deep into international and domestic issues that have been and should remain primarily local, state and federal issues. Internationalists, and even some members of the U.S. Congress, have worked tirelessly to construct a picture-perfect image of the CRC. However, the true picture of the CRC can be seen in the substance of the treaty and in the past rulings of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The original intention behind this international bill of rights for children may have been less nefarious but the ways in which the CRC has been interpreted and implemented signify the immense challenges to American sovereignty and parental rights would result from U.S. ratification. A 2009 report submitted to the government of the United Kingdom cited Articles 12 and 29 of the CRC as its primary reasons as to why homeschooling should be regulated by the Committee on the Rights of the Child and not by local communities and parent(s). The report claimed that government officials should have the right to interview homeschooled children without a parent present and that the government should have a larger role in the curriculum selection for homeschooled children. Although so far the United States Senate has chosen not to ratify the CRC, there is a growing sentiment that the states should bear the responsibility for ensuring that children are properly educated, instead of parents. In February 2008, a California court declared that “parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children,” unless they are certified by the state to teach. This ruling used the CRC as a guiding principle and failed to take into account established U.S. court precedent. The California decision ignored the 1972 Supreme Court decision in Wisconsin v Yoder and its 2000 ruling in Troxel v Granville, which guaranteed parents the fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their children. The danger that American homeschooling families face from the CRC principles will become the supreme law of the land, as stipulated in Article VI of the Constitution, if the Senate should ratify it.
In October 2007, a West Virginia Supreme Court Justice described parents’ right to raise their children “as the paramount right in the world.” The Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court asked the question, “Why does a natural parent have to prove fitness when they have never been found unfit?”
A ratified CRC would be the greatest challenge we’ve ever seen to parental rights. The Committee on the Rights of the Child and governments around the world are already using the CRC to chip away at parental rights. There are numerous examples from around the globe that demonstrate how governments are allowing the CRC to force parents to surrender their authority over their own children. Violations of the treaty, according to the CRC, include:
- In 2008 two sets of parents, in Belgium, were sentenced to five months in prison and they were fined 4,100 Euros for choosing not to vaccinate their children against polio.
- Belize was criticized because its "law does not allow children, particularly adolescents, to pursue medical or legal counseling without parental consent."
- The United Kingdom violates Articles 3, 37, 39, and 40 of the CRC by placing juvenile criminals into institutions which appear, to the United Nations, to have the overall goal of incarceration and punishment.
- Pakistan was directed to expand its healthcare system with greater emphasis on "family education, including family planning. . . ."
- The United Kingdom violates Article 12, since "the right of the child to express his/her opinion" is not solicited in parental decisions to withdraw a child from sex education in public school or to choose an alternative to the public schools.
- Any nation that permits spanking or fails to aggressively prosecute it is held to have violated the treaty, including Belize, Canada, Belgium, Yemen, Spain, and Poland.
- Canada, Belize, and a number of other nations were criticized for their failure to have a proper system for data collection on children. Belize was specifically faulted for failing to ensure that all children would be registered with the national government.
- Norway was told to "reconsider its policy on religious education for children in light of the general principle of non-discrimination and the right to privacy.
- The United Kingdom violates Articles 3, 19, and 37 by allowing parents to exercise "reasonable [physical] chastisement."
- Scores of nations were criticized for its balance of power between local and national governments on issues concerning children; Austria was directed to increase the use of national power to ensure compliance with the treaty.
- Austria, the United Kingdom, Belize, Sweden, Indonesia, and several others were criticized for failing to spend enough tax dollars on social welfare for children.
There have also been instances, around the world, where parental rights on matters relating to girls obtaining an abortion without parental consent, the death penalty for juveniles, the child’s right to privacy from their parents and parents’ right to bring their child to a religious service have all been challenged under the influence of the CRC. While these foreign cases are shocking, the greatest threat the CRC presents to American families lies in American courts’ efforts to enforce the provisions of the CRC, even though the U.S. Senate has not yet ratified the treaty.
Under the legal doctrine of customary international law, the United States Supreme Court and federal courts have begun to treat unratified treaties, such as the CRC, as binding on the United States. Already one federal district court has declared that, based upon the doctrine of customary international law, the CRC is binding on the United States even thought it has never been ratified by the Senate. The advocates of this legal doctrine claim that it is derived from the “law of nations”; which is a legal concept that is specifically mentioned in the United States Constitution.
In March 2005, the Supreme Court took an even more dangerous step, using not only international law but also the CRC to guide their decision in Roper v. Simmons. In Roper, the Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to execute a murderer who, at the age of 17 and 5 months, killed a total stranger in a premeditated plan. The murderer even told his companions that they would all get away with the crime because they were juveniles. The Court used the CRC as evidence of a shifting view on cruel and unusual punishment in its ruling of this case. The Court stopped just short of holding that this unratified treaty was binding on our country; the Court proclaimed that its own views, guided by such international sources, not by the Constitution, were the ultimate standard for determining what punishments are constitutionally impermissible.
Similar to the CEDAW, treaty the United States does not need to ratify the CRC to be a leader in human rights. Americans, since our founding, have always believed in the ideals of self-governance and independence from foreign rule. America has little to gain and everything to lose through the ratification of the CRC. It is clear that parental rights are under attack both at home and abroad. If American parents wish to remain the primary authority in their children’s lives they must be ready to defend their parental rights from the encroachment of the nannies in blue helmets.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Aaron Young holds a Masters from Norwich University in Diplomacy and International Terrorism.