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Convention on the Rights of the Child

As children are the face of this ongoing debate revolving around immigration, I noticed a tweet by David P. Gushee, whom I have really enjoyed following:

“Did you know that US, Somalia, S. Sudan are only nations not to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?” (the embedding was not working)

It really peaked my interest in to what the Convention of the Rights of the Child entailed. It is a convention of the United Nations outlining the rights of a child throughout the world. You can find the treaty here.

T. Jeremy Gunn also has a very in-depth look at the article and examining it’s history in the US. It was created in 1989. Altogether, 194 countries have signed the treaty, with only three members of the UN not signing: Somalia, South Sudan and United States. If we aren’t signing it, you would think their would be something very troubling with the treaty but here is a general sense of what the Convention calls for (via Amnesty International, amnestyusa.org):

  • Freedom from violence, abuse, hazardous employment, exploitation, abduction or sale
  • Adequate nutrition
  • Free compulsory primary education
  • Adequate health care
  • Equal treatment regardless of gender, race, or cultural background
  • The right to express opinions and freedom of though in matters affecting them
  • Safe exposure/access to leisure, play, culture, and art.

It can often take years to ratify treaties. However, this was presented to the US in 1989 – the same year Seinfeld debuted. It’s been 25 years. Many conservative groups including the Christian Coalition, Family Research Council and Focus on the Family have led the charge in opposition against the Convention. They have been key in spreading misrepresentations about the treaty, largely based around the parents not being able to fully parent their kids and the UN having a say in parent’s decisions.

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