Huge number of States have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, however the United States have not ratified the treaty. It is argued that the ratification of CRC would limit the US sovereignty or would cause unlimited interference in family life.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most comprehensive instrument, which protects children’s civil, political, as well as social, health, economic and cultural rights. It is built on the idea of child’s best interests and welfare, as well as protects children against all forms of discrimination.
All children are citizens of the society just as adults, although they have special interests and needs associated with their age characteristics. Therefore they should have a separate legal human rights instrument protecting their rights. By not ratifying the Convention, the United States undervalues the importance of having a separate instrument for children. We cannot ignore the fact, that parents have constitutional rights in the States, but children do not. In case of maltreatment of children by parents or other types of violation of their rights it is quiet unfair that children do not have Constitutional rights, as parents may prevent the State from intervention into their relationship with their children due to their constitutional rights. The ratification of CRC would increase the recognition of children’s rights. It will become an excellent solution in order to create a balance between the rights of parents and the rights of children, and allow making changes in the national legislation, which would increase the protection of children’s rights.
Even though one of the main reasons for the US not ratifying the CRC is the fear to let the Government have unlimited interference into family life, there are several counterarguments to the US’s approach, which will prove the benefits of ratifying the Convention.
Firstly, the Convention does not refer to relationship of parents and children only. It is much broader and protects children from harmful environment and risks generally by imposing the State to protect children’s rights in all aspects of their life considering their best interests and special needs.
Childhood is a specific period of life, which has a huge influence on person’s further formation: if the child is bought up in a violent environment, it would increase the risk of him/her internalizing the violent or delinquent behavior. The society of the United States is very diverse and consists of various national, ethnic and religious groups. This kind of society includes families with harmful or violent traditions and practices of bringing up their children.
Thus, the ratification of the CRC would decrease the number of delinquent juveniles in the US. Therefore, it is of a best interest of the US to ratify the Convention and to have a positive obligation to interfere in the family life, if children are subjected to physical or mental violence, abuse and other forms of maltreatment mentioned in the Article 19 of the Convention.
The United States not having ratified The CRC remains relatively silent on the child protection issues on the international level. Even though the CRC is one of the most ratified conventions, it is also one of the most violated by many states. As the United States and its human rights practice has a big influence on other states, the ratification of the CRC would allow the US to have its word and impact on other states practice on children’s issues and protection of rights. Currently the United States is being internationally criticized for not having ratified the convention, while it would allow promoting other states to improve their policies on elimination of children’s involvement in military, child labor, slavery and other issues.
The Convention would let the US not only to establish its own word internationally, but also to provide the child rights organizations and NGOs with a very comprehensive instrument to carry out their advocacy work more successfully and to contribute to the protection of children’s rights. The ratification of the Convention would increase the welfare of children and let the advocated to raise children’s rights issues, advocate to successful solution of these issues and increase the competencies of parents to bring up their children.
To conclude, the ratification of the Convention on the rights of the Child would have a positive impact on the state recognition of children’s rights, on the establishment of mechanisms to protect child’s rights and to contribute to international practice of children’s rights protection. Moreover, by ratifying the Convention, the United States can put reservations on the provisions inconsistent with its interests and still benefit from the Convention.