ABA President William C. Hubbard expressed the ABA’s support last month for the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and urged Secretary of State John Kerry to submit the convention to the Senate for consideration early in the 114th Congress.
The CRC, signed in 1995 by President Clinton but never submitted to the Senate, came into force in September 1990 and is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history with 194 state parties. The convention sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children and “has proven to be a powerful tool to improve the laws and policies for children and families around the world,” Hubbard wrote in an Oct. 22 letter to Kerry.
“The failure of the United States to join almost every other nation as a party to the CRC undermines the ability of the United States to advocate for children and families fully and credibly elsewhere in the world,” Hubbard said. He pointed out that President Obama once noted that it is embarrassing to be in the same company as Somalia as a CRC holdout and pledged to review the CRC to reinforce U. S. global leadership in human rights.
Hubbard emphasized that here at home children face unprecedented exposure to adversity, poverty, violence abuse and exclusion.
“As it has all over the world, the CRC would provide the United States with a comprehensive framework to analyze, document and report on conditions for children, including how government agencies consider the views of parents and youth,” Hubbard explained. “That framework,” he said, “would in turn help officials at all levels of government develop policies and programs that better meet the needs of children and families,” he said.
The ABA, which has a strong interest and expertise in children’s issues, established the ABA Center on Children and the Law in 1978 to help improve children’s lives through law, practice and policy reform. The association and the center has multiple policies and projects relating to enhancing access to justice for children and families and view CRC ratification as critical to this objective, Hubbard said.