binding law until it is ratified by Congress.4 As a signatory country, the United States is
nonetheless “bound not to contravene the object and purpose of the” CRC.5 American
courts are beginning to consider whether the CRC is customary international law, which
would bind the United States to the requirements of the CRC despite the fact that it has
not been ratified.6 Locally, however, the City passed a resolution in 2009 adopting the
CRC and resolving that “the Mayor and members of the City Council of Chicago will
advance policies and practices that are in harmony with the principles of the Convention
on the Rights of the Child in all city agencies and organizations that address issues
directly affecting the City’s children.”7 Now in place for five years, Chicago’s CRC
resolution offers a guiding light for addressing the City’s responses to ongoing public
safety challenges, the large majority of which all have direct implications for children’s
In a summary of children’s rights under the CRC, UNICEF states that all adults,
especially those that are responsible for creating budgets, policies, and laws, should do
what is best for children and think about how their decisions will affect children.8 The
CRC thereby provides a framework for individuals to advocate for policies and
allocations of resources that provide for the advancement of the fifty-four articles set
forth in the CRC,9 including the right to protection from harm.10 The CRC’s articles that
are most relevant to the issues of public safety include:
4 Stahl, supra note 2, at 811–12.
5 Id. at 811. “The Convention’s objective is to protect children from discrimination, neglect and abuse.”
Convention on the Rights of the Child, U.N. CYBERSCHOOLBUS,
http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/treaties/child.asp, (last visited May 11, 2014). The Convention
combines provisions aimed at the protection of children with provisions that recognize the child as a holder
of specific rights and freedoms. Id.
6 Stahl, supra note 2, at 811; Eric Engle, The Convention on the Rights of the Child, 29 QUINNIPIAC L. REV.
793, 794 (2011).
7 City of Chicago Resolution Adopting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Feb. 11, 2009)
[hereinafter Chicago Resolution], available at
other cities, including Austin, TX, Cambridge, MA, Cleveland, OH, Detroit, MI, Grand Rapids, MI, Kansas
City, MO, Minneapolis, MN, New York, NY, San Diego, CA, and Savannah, GA, as well as the states of
Hawaii, Rhode Island, Vermont, South Carolina, and New York, have also passed resolutions in support of
the CRC. See COLUMBIA LAW SCH. HUMAN RIGHTS INST. & INT’L ASS’N OF OFFICIAL HUMAN RIGHTS
AGENCIES, STATE AND LOCAL HUMAN RIGHTS AGENCIES: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ADVANCING
OPPORTUNITY AND EQUALITY THROUGH AN INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS FRAMEWORK 20 n.53 (2009),
available at http://www.law.columbia.edu/null/download?&exclusive=filemgr.download&file_id=153843.
8 UNICEF, FACT SHEET: A SUMMARY OF THE RIGHTS UNDER THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE
CHILD, available at http://www.unicef.org/crc/files/Rights_overview.pdf.
9 See CRC, supra note 2; COLUMBIA LAW SCH., HUMAN RIGHTS INST., BRINGING HUMAN RIGHTS HOME:
HOW STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS CAN USE HUMAN RIGHTS TO ADVANCE LOCAL POLICY 1 (2012)
[hereinafter BRINGING HUMAN RIGHTS HOME], available at
10 CRC, supra note 2, at art. 19.