Convention on the Rights of the Child

I just discovered here that in the US there is opposition to the Convention which guarantees that most basic rights of children. These rights can be summarized as follows:

Children have rights to life, identity, nationality, knowledge of and care by hir parents, self-expression, thought, conscience, religion, free association, privacy, access to health care, access to resources to allow children with disabilities to fully participate in the community, education, and leisure. Signatory governments have obligations to protect children from neglect and abuse as well as to provide financial, development, and psychological support.

Do you know of anybody who would object to any of these rights being granted to children? I think that all these things are so obvious and so basic that no reasonable individual can possibly object to adopting the convention and practicing it in full.

 

33 thoughts on “Convention on the Rights of the Child”

  1. Yes, I do know people who object to this, because they see any idea of children’s rights as infringing on parental rights. It’s a continuation of the old adage that children are to be seen and not heard and must obey their parents unquestioningly because “Father/Mother knows best”, and that children’s rights equals turning them into brats who get whatever they want and reign in utter anarchy.
    I always am tempted to ask if they want some hay for that straw man they’re building up when the topic arises.

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    1. I personally know parents who respect these rights in the case of their own children. It looks very attractive in practice.

      I also know people who don’t. And it looks extremely sad. 😦

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      1. I’ve seen it taken to extremes, particularly by ‘children’s rights advocates’ – resulting in the inability of parents to be necessarily involved in their kid’s lives. So what if he can’t read – he’s exercising his ‘rights’.

        We (as a society) want to blame parents for everything that goes wrong with a child (you even had a post on that recently) yet we want to handcuff each and every avenue they have to exert influence and control of said children. Can’t have it both ways.

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          1. Privacy – I’ve seen it used to withhold information pertaining to the child’s academic progress. Also, I’ve seen it used (in collaboration with “free association”) to limit parents ability to intervene in a youngsters inappropriate associations (alcohol and drug use).

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            1. How can anybody “intervene” in a person’s alcohol and drug use? These problems arise in people with low self-esteem. And can only be corrected when the addict really wants to beat the addiction.

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              1. Kid (13yrs old) wants to go to big party with lots of drugs and alcohol. Parent says no. Kid complains to C.A.S. that his rights (Free Association) are being infringed. Now parents are dragged into (useless) investigation, court appearances and reviews. Meanwhile, kid continues to get worse, because efforts and resources are being spent on self defense.

                I know you don’t want to believe that the great progressives would never do such a thing – but I’ve seen it happen.

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              2. If I had a 13 year old who could cite legal precedent like that, and could argue his case well enough to attract that kind of attention, I would roar with laughter and buy him the booze myself. I’d be proud to have raised someone that cunning.

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              3. they’re not cunning – they’re indoctrinated in public school with their ‘rights’, but never their responsibilities.

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              4. Hardly indoctrination. I think teaching kids their rights is brilliant, and will make them adults who are not afraid to stand up when something’s wrong.
                There are far too many people who are afraid to cite their rights and end up getting bullied at the workplace or in a public space- I had to learn that the hard way. I’d rather people be able to say “You are violating my rights under Title IX/The ADA/The Fourth Amendment/The Charter” than be meek about it because they never learned to stand up for themselves or never learned that they did have these rights.

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              5. So…then where does “act in the best interests of the child” come in? in this particular case, wouldn’t the parents’ mandate to act in the best interest of the child be in conflict with the child’s right to free association?

                Seems like that last one, rather than being a problem, could be interpreted fairly convincingly to be the one that trumps all the rest.

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              6. Preventing a kid from hanging out with friends can never be in the kid’s best interests, so I don’t see a contradiction here. If an adult has a right to free association, so should a child. What’s problematic about this?

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              7. Well, if there’s a party with drugs (illegal, dangerous) and alcohol (illegal, dangerous), and my kid is underage, and I’m not willing to drive him/her to said party, and the only way my child can get to the party (and home from it) is to ride with someone who likely has been engaging in the drugs and alcohol, it’s pretty much in the kid’s best interest that the kid NOT be there to a) get drunk or stoned (though this is probably not the end of the world, don’t tell my kids I said that), b) get arrested and have a permanent criminal record for possession, or c) ride home in a car with someone who’s been drinking or doing drugs and risk getting killed, killing someone else, and/or getting arrested for DUI. Whether the kid thinks so or not.

                I’d bet someone could make a pretty convincing legal argument that acting in one’s child’s best interest means keeping said child out of illegal and/or patently dangerous situations.

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              8. I think if your child wants to get stoned, then probably you messed up a long time before that. I went to school and then grad school with some pretty heavy drug users who kept talking about their dealers like it was the most natural thing in the world. Was never tempted even to try.

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  2. I don’t think a central government should have that kind of convention. But I agree with the terms of this convention.

    In fact the Convention should be like this: “All individuals have rights to life, identity, nationality, , self-expression, thought, conscience, religion, free association, privacy, access to health care, access to resources to allow individuals with disabilities to fully participate in the community, education, and leisure. Signatory governments have obligations to protect children individuals neglect and abuse as well as to provide financial, development, and psychological support. Children have the right to knowledge of and care by their parents.

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  3. I don’t think a central government should have that kind of convention. But I agree with the terms of this convention.

    In fact, the Convention should be like this: “All individuals have rights to life, identity, nationality, self-expression, thought, conscience, religion, free association, privacy, access to health care, access to resources to allow individuals with disabilities to fully participate in the community, education, and leisure. Signatory governments have obligations to protect individuals neglect and abuse as well as to provide financial, development, and psychological support. Children have the right to knowledge of and care by their parents.”

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  4. I think your exactly the dupe they would target to do their dirty work. Ever ready to fight for the ‘oppressed’. They don’t have to cite anything – they just go crying to your office, and out of your overinflated sense justice, the battle is fought among the adults.

    It’s a sorry state of affairs – the advocates at school are charged with ensuring the safety of the students. If they do nothing, and there is a real problem at home, they’ll surely be strung up. The kids know this, and use it to their advantage. Having been involved with C.A.S. for years, I don’t envy their position.

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    1. In your worldview, a child seems to be positioned as an enemy. If a kid “goes crying” anywhere, that means there is a problem. Happy kids don’t go crying to strangers. Neither do they have issues with booze and drugs. Parents of drug addicts and alcoholics only have themselves to blame. Not bad schools, not bad company. Just themselves.

      But it’s easier to blame the universe, of course.

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  5. Do you recall about six weeks ago when the State of Texas executed Mexican citizen Humberto Leal García despite the fact that he had been denied effective counsel by not being provided access to the Mexican consul as required by the UN Vienna Convention on Consular Relations? Here is a link to a Democracy Now story on the execution from the morning before it occurred. http://www.democracynow.org/2011/7/7/mexican_denied_consular_rights_faces_texas

    The US actually signed that convention. The Federal government under both the Bush and Obama administrations requested clemency or a new trial because executing him would damage US foreign relations. So the next time a US citizen goes to Mexico and is mistakenly arrested, s/he can expect not to see a US consul who can straighten things out. Why did Rick Perry refuse to intervene? Because it was a violation of the 10th Amendment (States Rights) and the Federal government cannot interfere with the right of the sovereign State of Texas, or any other state, to enforce their laws. You may think that the sovereign states should be bound by any international treaty that the US signs, but people like Rick Perry say, “No. Only the Federal government is bound by treaties it signs. The sovereign State of Texas did not sign that treaty and it has no force in Texas.”

    The people who oppose this convention are not discriminatory. They oppose any and all UN conventions. If they think that the US federal government is too big, what do you think they think about the UN? From about 1958 until about 1995, or thereabouts, I recall hearing a constant refrain, “Get the US out of the UN and the UN out of the US”. It was also a favorite bumper sticker in much of the South, along with a Confederate Flag, a bumper sticker that said, “I’ll give up my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands” and another that said, “Gun control is a steady aim”. Besides it was good politics for Rick Perry to kill a Mexican. It might just get him the Republican nomination for President. It worked for George Bush who killed more Mexicans than any previous governor since Sam Houston.

    Besides, God gave children to parents to raise with the Bible and a firm hand. HE did not give children to the Federal government or the UN. And just to prove that these people aren’t racists they might quote Dr. Cliff Huxtable’s favorite saying to his son, Jamal, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out.”

    Now that you understand, doesn’t that make you feel better?

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    1. This is really scary stuff. Truly terrifying.

      I don’t really think Perry has any chance to win the presidency, or I’d be very worried right now. I have a feeling he’s Bush Jr. times three.

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      1. I agree that Governor Perry is scary, primarily because he is a loose cannon. The only one who I find responsible (that used to be the prime criterion for a Republican candidate) is Jon Huntsman. I suspect that Romney would do a decent job, but for the past four years he has constantly lied about his past political positions so much that I am disgusted by him. He will continue to lie about every thing in the future. Ron Paul holds scary economic positions, but has the benefit of being one of the most honest and upright candidates. And he truly believes that most of the country’s problems are a result of foreign wars and entanglements. So, he has not voted for any of the Bush or Obama wars and would not go around trying overthrow every government he doesn’t like. Most of the rest of the Republican candidates are just bad jokes.

        However, I think that Obama can lose the election and has already gone a long way toward doing that. The young and the liberals worked hard for him. Many of the liberals are kicking themselves for their stupidity in supporting him over Hilary Clinton. He will not be able to generate the enthusiasm that he did the last time. So he will have to run as most incumbents do, trading the power of his office for campaign money and support. He is trying to do that with the gay community right now and with Hispanics, but I think they see through him. I suspect he is making deals with Wall Street to eviscerate the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. I think he has come to the party too late, or as we say in the real estate business, the man is a day late and a dollar short. I think the only way he can win is if the Republican party nominates somebody who scares the independents to death. Not half to death, that’s not scary enough.

        Not many people are going to vote if their choice is only for the least bad of two bad candidates.

        Clarissa, have you ever read Vachel Lindsay’s poem “Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan” about William Jennings Bryan, the “candidate for President who sketched a silver zion”? You should read it for a superb introduction to American politics. The description of McKinley and Mark Hanna (the Karl Rove of 1896) are very revealing. It is many pages long, but it covers the entire campaign. Besides Lindsay discusses being a young liberal in Springfield, Illinois where Lincoln’s ghost still walked at night.

        You can get it from the library and read it in 15 minutes and get another view of American culture. Actually, it would be best if you had a jazz singer read it to you. Vachel Lindsay was a jazz saxaphonist and he wrote poetry to be read rhythmically.

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        1. I have never even heard of the poem but now I’m intrigued! Thank you for your recommendation.

          I don’t think that Obama will lose the election because there is no other viable candidate at this point. He will not win because people are content with the job he’s doing but because there is no alternative, and I think everybody sees that.

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          1. Here is a sample of two other poems by Vachel Lindsay, who was known as the prairie troubador. He would have been highly in favor of the Convention on the rights of the child.

            This was my mother’s favorite and the one that she had printed on her business letterhead.
            .
            The Leaden-Eyed

            Let not young souls be smothered out before
            They do quaint deeds and fully flaunt their pride.
            It is the world’s one crime its babes grow dull,
            Its poor are ox-like, limp and leaden-eyed.

            Not that they starve; but starve so dreamlessly,
            Not that they sow, but that they seldom reap,
            Not that they serve, but have no gods to serve,
            Not that they die, but that they die like sheep.

            Here is one of my favorites, an elegy for John P. Altgeld the progressive Democrat governor of Illinois in the 1890s. He set the standard for progressive politics in this country. He wrote some of the first child labor and workplace safety laws, He pardoned the men convicted in the Haymarket bombing because he could find no evidence of their guilt. He refused to use the police and the National Guard to break up the Pullman strike. Buildings on several university campuses in Illinois are named for him. I don’t know if any at SIUE bear his name. The poetry is in the slow paced phrasing. For Lindsay, it was a dirge.

            THE EAGLE THAT IS FORGOTTEN
            [John P. Altgeld. Born Dec. 30, 1847; died March 12, 1902]

            SLEEP softly * * *eagle forgotten * * *
            under the stone.
            Time has its way with you there,
            and the clay hast its own.

            “We have buried him now,” thought your foes,
            and in secret rejoiced.
            They made a brave show of their mourning,
            their hatred unvoiced.
            They had snarled at you, barked at you,
            foamed at you day after day,
            Now you were ended. They praised you,
            * * * and laid you away.

            The others that mourned you in silence and
            terror and truth,
            The widow bereft of her crust, and the boy
            without youth,
            The mocked and the scorned and the wounded
            the lame and the poor
            That should have remembered forever, * * *
            remember no more.

            Where are those lovers of yours, on what
            name do they call
            The lost, that in armies wept over your fu-
            neral pall?
            They call on the names of a hundred high-
            valiant ones,
            A hundred white eagles have risen the sons of
            your sons,
            The zeal in their wings is a zeal that your
            dreaming began
            The valor that wore out your soul in the ser-
            vice of man.
            Sleep softly, * * * eagle forgotten, * * *
            under the stone,
            Time has its way with you there and the clay has its own.
            Sleep on, O brave hearted, O wise man, that
            kindled the flame—
            To live in mankind is far more than to live in
            a name,
            To live in mankind, far, far more * * * than
            to live in a name.

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  6. My understanding of the US opposition to the Convention on the Rights of the Child is because Americans want to retain the right to subject children to the death penalty. (Got to love your national delusion at being the Land of the Free!) The only other country in the world that hasn’t signed it is Somalia – and that’s mostly because they don’t have a Government.

    It seems odd that the rest of the world has managed to sign up (admittedly with varying degress of success in implementing it) and not only has the sky not fallen in but parents still retain rights.

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    1. I had to ask students to stop referring to the US as “the Land of the Free” in the essays last year because after I saw this expression repeated – completely in earnest – in a dozen essays in a row, I was ready to howl.

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  7. I just read this document linked over at feministe (http://childrightscampaign.org/documents/OppositiontotheCRC.pdf) and Holy Cow, these people are strange.

    You know, when I first read your blogpost, I thought that this was about concern for kids badgering. About how parents know exactly what is good for children and only under the supervision of their parents and only their parents can children have a good and safe and protected childhood.

    But no ! They actually approach this from a ‘Us vs. Them’* mentality and frame kids as murders- or cultists-to-be. As if people are not raising actual human beings, but little chucky puppets. As if the sole existence of your own child threatens yourself !

    And I truly feel sorry for the children whose parents see them as The Enemy.

    * These polarising views seem to be pretty popular in the US, right ?

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    1. “But no ! They actually approach this from a ‘Us vs. Them’* mentality and frame kids as murders- or cultists-to-be. As if people are not raising actual human beings, but little chucky puppets. As if the sole existence of your own child threatens yourself !”

      -Aha, exactly. How weird is that?? I mean, if it’s your own kid, why such a fear of him or her? Like you are raising a terrifying alien creature who can mutate at any time. 🙂 This is too weird for me to understand.

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  8. The more radical fundamentalist Christians object to any situation that limits their power to control every aspect of their children’s lives, including limits on physical discipline short of death.To these people, the main duty of a Christian parent is to provide “perfect” Christian children. Any challenge to parental authority, by the government or the child, is seen as demonic. The most radical Christians know how to get the more sensible Christians to support their political views by scare-mongering about gender and sex, particularly factually correct sex education.

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