So far, 194 countries belonging to the United Nations have ratified the treaty. To this day, only two U.N. members have not ratified the treaty—the United States and Somalia. In 1995, President Bill Clinton signed the treaty, but the U.S. Senate refused to ratify it. When asked about his thoughts on the treaty in 2009, President Obama said, “It’s embarrassing to find ourselves in the company of Somalia, a lawless land. I will review this and other treaties and ensure that the United States resumes its global leadership in Human Rights.”
However, the United States has ratified two optional protocols that were adopted by the General Assembly on May 25, 2000. The former protocol, the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, proclaims that countries cannot conscript children under the age of 18 and cannot force them to engage directly in war hostilities, while the latter protocol, the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, prohibits countries from selling children and profiting off of child prostitution and pornography.
Although the United States has not ratified it, the Convention on the Rights of the Child is completely relevant to our nation today, as we witness the enactment of new laws that bear striking resemblance to this treaty. These laws, which are classified as “customary international laws,” contain language lifted from the Convention on the Rights of the Child and can easily be passed through a state legislature or applied by a federal court.
Because these types of laws are unwritten and based on customs practiced around the world, the provisions of the CRC have easily become incorporated into such laws. For example, the Supreme Court case Roper v. Simmons (2005), which decreed that children below the age of 18 cannot receive the death penalty, implemented one of the articles of the CRC regarding “the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” Thus, this case demonstrates the power that the Court has in applying customary international law to cases in the United States.
Moreover, two laws that passed in my state California last year demonstrate how language found in customary international law and the CRC is being adopted in legislation here in the United States. AB 499, an act that amended Section 6926 of the Family Code, allows children under the age of 12 to receive Gardasil vaccinations without parental consent. SB 48, the not-so FAIR Act, forces children as young as 5 years old to learn “gay history” and thereby prevents parents from having a say in their child’s education.
The organization parentalrights.org has been adamantly working to raise awareness about the CRC. On their website, they feature a docudrama they made last year called “Overruled: Government Invasion of Your Parental Rights”, which discusses three cases that show how customary international laws are thwarting parental rights here in America. Towards the end of the film, parentalrights.org concludes that America needs to pass a Parental Rights Amendment to ensure that parents, not government bureaucrats, have the liberty to raise their children as they see fit and that international treaties do not usurp such rights.
Moreover, parentalrights.org has also been involved in legislative action on state and federal levels to prevent the CRC from being imposed in the United States. They are encouraging Americans to get involved with their state's legislature to protect parental rights in their state and call on Congress to propose a Parental Rights Amendment for states to ratify and add to the U.S. Constitution. Also, they have gotten 13 U.S. Senators and 85 U.S. House of Representatives to cosponsor legislation in the Senate and House that supports a Parental Rights Amendment. Recently, on October 16th, Representative Trent Franks became the 85th U.S. House of Representatives cosponsor.
The Weather Underground Manifesto, written in the 1960’s, proclaimed that the family unit needed to be destroyed in order to transform America into a socialist haven. Seeing that their dream is still alive and progressing towards realization, it is more important than ever to protect parental rights in America. Unless we want to become a nation like Sweden which allows government officials to take homeschooled children away from their parents, our generation must protect parental rights so we may secure a safe future for our own children.