What is the Convention on the Rights of the Child?
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a human rights treaty established and maintained by the United Nations. The Convention on the Rights of the Child focuses on the civil, economic, social, political, cultural and health issues of children throughout the world. The treaty in general, defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen, unless an earlier age of majority is established and subsequently recognized by a particular country’s law.
Those countries that ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child are bound to the treaty by international law; compliance to the treaty is monitored by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which is a formal administrative board, composed of members from countries around the world. The Committee meets once a year to submit a report to the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly; the Third Committee also hears a statement issued by the CRC Chair to adopt a resolution of the Rights of the Child.
All governments of countries that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child are required, by international law, to report to and appear before, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The governing bodies must meet with the committee periodically to be evaluated with regards to their progress in advancing and implements the Convention as they relate to the status of child rights in their particular country. Once evaluated, the committee will affirm their reports by submitting written reviews to the United Nations and posting such evaluations on their website.
When was the Convention on the Rights of the Child Adopted?
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20th of 1989. Following the establishment of the treaty, the Assembly enacted the treaty on September 2nd of 1990, after it was ratified by the required number of nations.
As of November of 2010, 195 countries have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including every member of the United Nations—except for the United States and Somalia.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United States:
The United States federal government played a crucial role in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. That being said, although the United States signed it on February 16, 1995, the nation never ratified it. The United States, although never officially stated, claims that the Convention was never ratified due to the political and religious right, who see the Convention as threatening in regards to control over domestic policy.
Various agencies and groups in the United States, for a number of reasons oppose the convention; for example, the Home School Legal Defense Association views the treaty as a threat to homeschooling. Furthermore, a number of parental rights group claim the convention would automatically override almost all domestic laws on children and families because of the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause in Article VI.