Author Topic: Boxer Seeks to Ratify UN treaty for more child rights  (Read 915 times)

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Offline firstresponder

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Boxer Seeks to Ratify UN treaty for more child rights
« on: February 25, 2009, 08:44:34 PM »
http://http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/02/25/boxer-seeks-ratify-treaty-erode-rights/



Sen. Barbara Boxer is urging the U.S. to ratify a United Nations measure meant to expand the rights of children, a move critics are calling a gross assault on parental rights that could rob the U.S. of sovereignty.

The California Democrat is pushing the Obama administration to review the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, a nearly 20-year-old international agreement that has been foundering on American shores since it was signed by the Clinton administration in 1995 but never ratified.

Critics say the treaty, which creates "the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion" and outlaws the "arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy," intrudes on the family and strips parents of the power to raise their children without government interference.

Nearly every country in the world is party to it -- only the U.S. and Somalia are not -- but the convention has gained little support in the U.S. and never been sent to the Senate for ratification.

That could change soon.

Boxer has made clear her intent to revive the ratification process under the Obama administration, which may be amenable to the move. During a Senate confirmation hearing last month, Boxer said she considers it "a humiliation" that the U.S. is "standing with Somalia" in refusing to become party to the agreement, while 193 other nations have led the way.

The U.S. is already party to two optional pieces of the treaty regarding child soldiers and child prostitution and pornography, but has refused to sign on to the full agreement, something which has rankled members of Congress, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

"Children deserve basic human rights ... and the convention protects children's rights by setting some standards here so that the most vulnerable people of society will be protected," Boxer said.

The convention has established a Committee on the Rights of the Child, an 18-member panel in Geneva composed of "persons of high moral character" who review the rights of children in nations that are party to the convention.

But legal experts say the convention does nothing to protect human rights abroad -- and that acceding to the convention would erode U.S. sovereignty.

Because of the Supremacy Clause in Article VI of the Constitution, all treaties are rendered "the supreme law of the land," superseding preexisting state and federal statutes. Any rights or laws established by the U.N. convention could then be argued to hold sway in the United States.

"To the extent that an outside body, a group of unaccountable so-called experts in Switzerland have a say over how children in America should be raised, educated and disciplined -- that is an erosion of American sovereignty," said Steven Groves, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

Parental rights groups are similarly stirred; they see in the U.N. convention a threat that the government will meddle with even the simplest freedoms to raise their children as they see fit.

"Whether you ground your kids for smoking marijuana, whether you take them to church, whether you let them go to junior prom, all of those things . . . will be the government's decision," said Michael Farris, president of ParentalRights.org. "It will affect every parent who's told their children to do the dishes."

Groves said that erosion has already begun, as the Supreme Court has referred to the wide acceptance of the child-rights law in conferring legal protections on minors in the U.S.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the majority opinion in the 2005 decision banning the death penalty for minors, noted that "every country in the world has ratified [the convention] save for the United States and Somalia."

Proponents of the convention in the U.S. stress that it will help secure human rights abroad.

"Now, all you have to do is look around the world and see these girls that are having acid thrown in their face," Boxer said in January, implying that the U.S. refusal to come aboard has led to abuses elsewhere.

But when acceding to the convention, countries are able to sign so-called RUDs -- reservations, understandings and declarations -- that can hinder or negate responsibilities they would otherwise be bound to follow.

Most majority Muslim nations express reservations on all provisions of the convention that are incompatible with Islamic Sharia law, which takes much of the teeth out of the treaty. Acid attacks on girls continue in Afghanistan, which is already party to the convention.

The U.N. itself admits that there is no way for it to enforce its own laws and protect children.

"When it comes to signatories who violate the convention and/or its optional protocols -- there is no means to oblige states to fulfill their legal obligations," said Giorgia Passarelli, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights, which oversees the child-rights body.

Passarelli said that the committee has kept a constant spotlight on rights violators and fed into decisions made by the Security Council, especially involving child soldiers. But even then, she added, such pressure does not always prevail.

Despite these obstacles, Boxer has made clear that she intends to ramp up pressure to get the treaty ratified, a passion that may be shared by the Obama administration.

During the Oct. 22, 2008, presidential youth debate, Obama promised to "review this and other treaties to ensure the United States resumes its global leadership in human rights."

During U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's January confirmation hearing, Rice called the convention "a very important treaty and a noble cause," and said it was "a shame" for the U.S. to be in company with Somalia, which has no real government.

Rice told Boxer that "there can be no doubt that [President Obama] and Secretary Clinton and I share a commitment to the objectives of this treaty and will take it up as an early question," promising to review the treaty "to ensure that the United States is playing and resumes its global leadership role in human rights."

Boxer, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pushed for a 60-day timetable to review the convention and report back to the Senate -- which would have left the Obama administration a March 23 deadline to move toward ratification.

Rice politely sidestepped and refused to agree to the timeline.

"This is a complicated treaty, in many respects more than some others, given our system of federalism, and so we need to take a close look at how we manage the challenges of domestic implementation and what reservations and understandings might be appropriate in the context of ratification," she said.

Boxer's office, which ignored repeated calls and e-mails seeking comment, has not spelled out what if any reservations the senator would like to assert in ratifying the treaty. The State Department also refused to comment on timetables.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline firstresponder

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Re: Boxer Seeks to Ratify UN treaty for more child rights
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2009, 09:02:47 PM »
i would say that we should send her e-mails to say how much this would mean to us as well as others.


http://boxer.senate.gov/contact/email/policy.cfm
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Offline wdtony

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Re: Boxer Seeks to Ratify UN treaty for more child rights
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2009, 05:04:49 AM »
I heard some people bashing this convention on so-called "conservative" talk radio the other day. They are trying to scare everyone by saying that parents won't be able to spank kids without going to jail and that if kids don't want to go to church, the parents won't have the right to make them go.

Anyway, it looks like spin-radio is already using fear to sway public opinion against this convention. Freedom of Religion is a big argument against this. If this convention is ratified, I would hope it would add protection to kids against programs.

I do think it would be wise to push this issue by contacting those who would be voting on this. Although I don't know exactly who to contact.

If anyone does any homework on who to contact, please post it. I just don't have any time to research this. But I find it very important.
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Offline Anonymous

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Re: Boxer Seeks to Ratify UN treaty for more child rights
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2009, 07:27:15 PM »
Other countries ratified and the same thing's still happening.

Doesn't seem to mean shit
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Offline wdtony

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Re: Boxer Seeks to Ratify UN treaty for more child rights
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2009, 10:57:40 PM »
Here is the Fear mongering I heard on the radio the other night, Michael Farris, President of parentalrights.org is who I heard speaking:

United Nations' threat: No more parental rights
Expert: Pact would ban spankings, homeschooling if children object

Posted: February 05, 2009
12:00 am Eastern


By Chelsea Schilling

2009 WorldNetDaily



A United Nations human rights treaty that could prohibit children from being spanked or homeschooled, ban youngsters from facing the death penalty and forbid parents from deciding their families' religion is on America's doorstep, a legal expert warns.

Michael Farris of Purcellville, Va., is president of ParentalRights.org, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association and chancellor of Patrick Henry College. He told WND that under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, or CRC, every decision a parent makes can be reviewed by the government to determine whether it is in the child's best interest.

"It's definitely on our doorstep," he said. "The left wants to make the Obama-Clinton era permanent. Treaties are a way to make it as permanent as stuff gets. It is very difficult to extract yourself from a treaty once you begin it. If they can put all of their left-wing socialist policies into treaty form, we're stuck with it even if they lose the next election."

The 1990s-era document was ratified quickly by 193 nations worldwide, but not the United States or Somalia. In Somalia, there was then no recognized government to do the formal recognition, and in the United States there's been opposition to its power. Countries that ratify the treaty are bound to it by international law.

Although signed by Madeleine Albright, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., on Feb. 16, 1995, the U.S. Senate never ratified the treaty, largely because of conservatives' efforts to point out it would create that list of rights which primarily would be enforced against parents.

The international treaty creates specific civil, economic, social, cultural and even economic rights for every child and states that "the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration." While the treaty states that parents or legal guardians "have primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child," Farris said government will ultimately determine whether parents' decisions are in their children's best interest. The treaty is monitored by the CRC, which conceivably has enforcement powers.

According to the Parental Rights website, the substance of the CRC dictates the following:

Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.
A murderer aged 17 years, 11 months and 29 days at the time of his crime could no longer be sentenced to life in prison.
Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion.
The best interest of the child principle would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent's decision.
A child's "right to be heard" would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.
According to existing interpretation, it would be illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children's welfare.
Children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure.
Teaching children about Christianity in schools has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.
Allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.
Children would have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent.

"Where the child has a right fulfilled by the government, the responsibilities shift from parents to the government," Farris said. "The implications of all this shifting of responsibilities is that parents no longer have the traditional roles of either being responsible for their children or having the right to direct their children."


Michael Farris
 

The government would decide what is in the best interest of a children in every case, and the CRC would be considered superior to state laws, Farris said. Parents could be treated like criminals for making every-day decisions about their children's lives.

"If you think your child shouldn't go to the prom because their grades were low, the U.N. Convention gives that power to the government to review your decision and decide if it thinks that's what's best for your child," he said. "If you think that your children are too young to have a Facebook account, which interferes with the right of communication, the U.N. gets to determine whether or not your decision is in the best interest of the child."

He continued, "If you think your child should go to church three times a week, but the child wants to go to church once a week, the government gets to decide what it thinks is in the best interest of the children on the frequency of church attendance."

He said American social workers would be the ones responsible for implementation of the policies.

Farris said it could be easier for President Obama to push for ratification of the treaty than it was for the Clinton administration because "the political world has changed."

At a Walden University presidential debate last October, Obama indicated he may take action.

"It's embarrassing to find ourselves in the company of Somalia, a lawless land," Obama said. "I will review this and other treaties to ensure the United States resumes its global leadership in human rights."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been a strong supporter of the CRC, and she now has direct control over the treaty's submission to the Senate for ratification. The process requires a two-thirds vote.

Farris said Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., claimed in a private meeting just before Christmas that the treaty would be ratified within two years.

In November, a group of three dozen senior foreign policy figures urged Obama to strengthen U.S. relations with the U.N. Among other things, they asked the president to push for Senate approval of treaties that have been signed by the U.S. but not ratified.

Partnership for a Secure America Director Matthew Rojansky helped draft the statement. He said the treaty commands strong support and is likely to be acted on quickly, according to an Inter Press Service report.

While he said ratification is certain to come up, Farris said advocates of the treaty will face fierce opposition.

"I think it is going to be the battle of their lifetime," he said. "There's not enough political capital in Washington, D.C., to pass this treaty. We will defeat it."

Source: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/?pageId=87929
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Offline Anonymous

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Re: Boxer Seeks to Ratify UN treaty for more child rights
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2009, 02:58:27 PM »
This treaty needs to get ratified, yesterday. Although the UN doesn't do shit and treaties mean even less, passing this will be a huge psychological smackdown.

It's time to put the nutjobs away in the junk drawer, and eventually to the trash.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »