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Opposing the CRC from Within

By Michael Ramey

Every so often we get the question: If the Convention on the Rights of the Child is as dangerous as we warn, where are the complaints from those who have already signed on to it? What do those who have lived with it for the last 20 years have to say?

On November 24, 2011, more than 120 non-profit organizations from the Russian Federation and Ukraine gathered in St. Petersburg to adopt a joint statement answering that very question.

The result is the St. Petersburg Resolution on the Anti-Family Trends in the United Nations, on the Unacceptable Actions of the United Nations Human Rights Treaty Monitoring Bodies, and on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure. As you could no doubt surmise from the title, they share a lot of our concerns.

The St. Petersburg Resolution contains 16 articles declaring the conviction of the signatories that the United Nations and its treaty-monitoring bodies routinely overstep the mission and authority granted to them by those documents. The committees which oversee the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) are specifically called out.

Article 9 is especially relevant to our own cause and concerns. In it, these internal witnesses “insist that states should respect the unique role and position that natural (biological) parents have in the lives of their children. Any interpretations of any provision under the international or national law should reflect the natural presumption that natural parents usually act in good faith and in the best interests of their children…. We are strongly concerned over the existing unfounded and hazardous interpretation of Article 3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, regarding the government as having authority to control and supervise the life of any family and the decisions of any parent under the pretext of providing ‘the best interests of the child’.”

Additionally, Article 13 expresses our shared concern over the tendency of the CRC committee to interpret the treaty “in ways that create new state obligations or that alter the substance of the treaties.” The resolution cites as a clear example the committee’s assertion of an all-out ban on all corporal punishment, even in the home – in contravention of the CRC itself as interpreted under the rules of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. In response, the Resolution states, “we regard those actions and interpretations of UN treaty monitoring bodies as unacceptable and undermining the genuine basics of international law.”

Unfortunately for the people of Russia and Ukraine, the St. Petersburg Resolution is not binding in any way. For them, it is an instrument by which to urge their governments not to ratify the new Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure, which would grant even more authority to the rogue Committee on the Rights of the Child.

For us, the resolution provides testimony from within the nations of the CRC which we will share with Congress and the Senate. This testimony makes clear, from those who have lived under the CRC, that it is not something we would want to adopt here in the United States.

Michael Ramey is Director of Communications & Research at Parental Rights. For more information about Parental Rights, visit www.parentalrights.org.