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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

UN Convention on Rights of Child...it's back, AGAIN! Argh

Conservatives, Legislation, President Obama, Unintended consequences

http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/washingtontimes/20091120.asp

Washington Times Op-ed—U.N. Treaty Might Weaken Families

by J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President

One of the issues American families could face this year is the ramifications from a treaty called the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

You may ask, “How could a treaty directly affect internal decision-making by American families?” We generally think of treaties as agreements affecting international relations between countries. The U.N., however, has initiated treaties that not only affect international relations, but also the domestic relations of member nations as well. These treaties, sometimes called “conventions,” require member nations that ratify the treaty to implement the requirements as binding law or rules.

On Nov. 20, 1989, the U.N. adopted the CRC and submitted it for ratification to the member nations. It has been ratified by 193 nations—the United States is one of the few countries that has not ratified it.

The ratification process requires a two-thirds vote by the U.S. Senate. On Feb. 16, 1995, Madeleine Albright, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., signed the CRC on behalf of the United States. The CRC, however, has never been sent to the Senate for ratification because there is insufficient support to pass it.

Due to the recent election, however, there are rumblings from Capitol Hill that there will be an effort to seek ratification of the CRC during the next congressional cycle. Hillary Rodham Clinton is a strong supporter of the treaty, and as secretary of state, would have direct control over the submission of treaties to the Senate.

Why should passage of the CRC be of concern? It likely would have a negative impact on domestic law and practice in the United States. Article VI of our Constitution makes treaties—and remember, conventions are viewed as treaties—“the supreme law of the land.” The CRC would be treated as superior to laws in every state regarding the parent-child relationship. This would include issues regarding education, health care, family discipline, the child’s role in family decision-making, and a host of other subjects.

Article 43 of the CRC establishes an international committee on the rights of the child to examine compliance by member nations. This committee, which sits in Geneva, has final authority concerning interpretation of the language contained in the CRC.

Two central principles of the CRC clearly are contrary to current U.S. laws related to parent-child relationships. The CRC provides that in all matters relating to children, whether private or public, or in courts, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. Additionally, nations should ensure that children are capable of expressing their views freely in all matters affecting them, giving due weight to the age and maturity of the child.

This is contrary to traditional American law, which provides that absent proof of harm, courts and social workers simply do not have the authority to intervene in parent-child relationships and decision-making. The importance of this tradition and practice is that the government may not substitute its judgment for that of the parent until there is proof of harm to the child sufficient to justify governmental intervention. It is clear that in two very important areas of the parent-child relationship, religion and education, there will be potential for tremendous conflict.

The international committee in Geneva, in reviewing the laws of practice of countries that have ratified the CRC, has expressed its concern that parents could homeschool without the view of the child being considered; that parents could remove their children from sex-education classes without the view of the child being considered; that parents were legally permitted to use corporal punishment; and that children didn’t have access to reproductive health information without parental knowledge.

The bottom line is the CRC would drastically weaken the United States’ sovereignty over family life, which would have a substantial impact on every American family. For more information on the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, visit www.parentalrights.org/learn.

Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He may be contacted at (540)338-5600; or send email to media@hslda.org.

Dear Kyle,

Briefly yesterday, we had national coverage on the parental rights issue. A story reported by Fox News essentially duplicated our Feb. 9 article about Sen. Boxer's push for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and featured quotes from ParentalRights.org President Michael Farris, among others.

Now we need your help to keep this momentum going. We want to carry the message to an even broader national audience through Fox News personality Glenn Beck. We believe we can get Michael Farris on his show if enough viewers email Mr. Beck and ask about the Parental Rights Amendment or the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Even if you do not watch his show, you can email him and push to get the message heard.

Please, before you close this email or move on to something else, take just a moment to email Mr. Beck at me@glennbeck.com. Tell him you think he should cover the Parental Rights Amendment, or tell him he should look into the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, or both. Urge him to have Michael Farris from ParentalRights.org on the program to discuss this issue.

We truly believe that together we can win this fight, but we need you to contact this national news program and help us get Mike Farris on the air!

Thank you so much for helping make history by passing the Parental Rights Amendment.

Sincerely,

Michael Ramey
Director of Communicatons & Research
ParentalRights.org

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