UN CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD IS A THREAT TO NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY, PARENTAL RIGHTS AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY!
By Elwood E. “Sandy” Sanders, Jr.
Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written seven scholarly legal articles and was an adjunct at T. C. Williams School of Law. (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)
As if we did not need any more things to worry about from Washington, there is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This treaty, promulgated by the UN General Assembly in 1989, has been ratified by every nation (including such libertarian paradises as China, Iran and Zimbabwe) except, it seems Somalia and the United States of America. This treaty may be well-intended but it is a clear threat to our national sovereignty, the rights of parents to raise and educate their children and religious liberty.
The first objectionable aspect of this treaty is that the United States would have to report to a board that answers to UNICEF, (yes that UNICEF – the United Nations Children’s Fund – that one we probably collected for at Halloween – never again!) a board of 18 persons from different nations who will monitor compliance and make suggestions if the US is out of compliance. The American Bar Association admitted to CNSNews last November that:
“Every national government in the world, except the United States, has developed in response to the Convention of the Rights of the Child official detailed national reports on how children are fairing in their country,” Howard Davidson, director of the American Bar Association Center for Children and the Law, said at the press conference.
“And child protection and advocacy watchdog groups have been able to react to those reports by doing their own shadow reporting to the international committee on the rights of the child,” Davidson added.
This means that enacting this treaty will empower radicals in and outside the United States to mind our business – potentially entering our schools, including private religious schools, home schooling groups, juvenile detention facilities and maybe our churches as well. It will require states to comply with the treaty and “protect” the rights of immature children. It may impact law enforcement in obtaining confessions and investigating crimes. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (which requires if a foreign national is arrested he/she has a right to notify his/her embassy) has already been used as a club to condemn the US in the World Court and require police training on compliance. Only because the Supreme Court did not say so was the World Court’s decision not used to invalidate a Texas death sentence.
States must comply with treaties because the Constitution requires the states to follow treaties as if they were the Constitution or federal laws. Article VI says:
“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and 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 or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
The “rights” this treaty enforces include: the right to decide your own religion (Article 14), freedom of expression (Article 13), the right to be heard in court (Article 12 [perhaps sue your own parents!]), right to “…privacy, family or correspondence…” (Article 16 [If your parents search your room or forbid a teenager to stop calling or writing an undesirable boy/girlfriend that is a violation of this right.]) Article 16 will forever enshrine in our law the right of a minor to get an abortion or birth control without any parental objection allowed. Forget ever overruling Roe v. Wade. Article 18 sets up the “right” of working parents to child-care to be provided by or protected by governments.
There’s more! Article 24 gives children the “right” to health care. Forget fighting Obamacare – children will have to have access to health care as a “right”. Probably a public option will have to be available. Article 27 establishes a “right” to an adequate “standard of living”. I have no idea what mischief can be caused by this clause and I’m a lawyer! Article 28 provides a “right” to education and I believe this endangers homeschooling in that the child could be egged into seeking “court supervision” (under Article 12) to get a “regular”, e.g., school education. Religious schools would be subject to invasive regulation. Article 31 actually establishes a “right…to play”.
Article 38 (protecting children from being involved in armed conflict) sounds great until you imagine the possibility that we may be FORCED to try our soldiers for “violations” however innocent or unavoidable of this right – perhaps be subject to the International Criminal Court to be tried by foreigners without the rights suspects have in our country. If a child dies in a battle with the Taliban or Al-Qaeda, this is possible. BOTH Afghanistan and Pakistan have ratified this treaty. Articles 37 and 40 provide children with enumerated rights in criminal cases. This could hinder law enforcement and investigation.
This is not mere alarmism: According to Parentalrights.org, led by Mike Farris, home schooling defender and Chancellor of Patrick Henry College, Scotland issued an official government publication stating that each child has the “right to choose your own religion and beliefs.” Parents have a role to “help you think about this”. Parental rights also reported that the American Bar Association admitted that religious schools that say they have the truth could violate the “rights” of the children students in this school.
I can state as an attorney that when you give legal “rights”, along with a means for enforcement, in a treaty they are not just aspirational goals but binding requirements, especially on state and local governments. Federal courts will be making intrusive decisions involving local concerns.
The Obama Administration predictably endorses this treaty. Our UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, was quoted in the Huffington Post as trying to decide “when and how it might be possible to join” the treaty. For the treaty to pass, there must be a two-thirds (67) votes in the Senate.
There is another option: A Constitutional Amendment to protect parental rights. Here it is:
Section 1: The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.
Section 2: Neither the United States nor any State shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.
Section 3: No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret; or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.
Here is a video by a local parental rights activist, Terry Beatley, (who may be available to speak to your group on this – she was at the Hanover GOP Committee Meeting today and was well-received) on the dangers of this treaty.
There are two things we can do about it: Contact Senators Webb and Warner and indicate your opposition to this treaty. Senator Webb’s DC office is 202 224.4024 and Senator Warner’s office is 202 224.2023. You should also email them – let them know (I believe that Senator Webb with his military background and occasional conservative tendencies, especially involving guns, is best to try to persuade) in a gentle and respectful but firm manner that this treaty endangers home schooling, the liberty to raise up your children in your religious traditions, and requires us to report to unelected foreign bureaucrats in Geneva as to our compliance.
The other thing is to contact your Representative and the Senators to support the Parental Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution. This would enshrine parental rights in the Constitution beyond the reach of treaties like this. While my analysis based on the Breard decision of the United States Supreme Court is that a simple statute can do the job, there is no question a Constitutional Amendment will be the best way to protect the reasonable right of parents to raise their children as they see fit.