The U.S. Should Not Ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the
Republican opposition in the Senate has made it impossible for the United States to ratify
Conservatives argue that ratification would undermine United States sovereignty.
ParentalRights.org is just one group in the United States that campaigns against ratification.
The president of the organization, Michael Farris, who is a constitutional lawyer, has said
that the “United States demonstrates its commitment to human rights whenever it follows
and enforces the Constitution of the United States, which is the greatest human rights
instrument in all history.” Further, he has stated that ratification threatens parental rights
The chief threat posed by the CRC is the denial of American self-
government in accord with our constitutional processes… Our
constitutional system gives the exclusive authority for the creation of law
and policy on issues about families and children to state governments. Upon
ratification, this nation would be making a binding promise in international
law that we would obey the legal standards created by the U.N. CRC.
American children and families are better served by constitutional
democracy than international law.
This conservative group has additional fears. They fear that ratification would mean
“children could choose their own religion, that children would have a legally enforceable
right to leisure, that nations would have to spend more on children’s welfare than national
defense, and that a child’s ‘right to be heard’ could trigger a governmental review of any
decision a parent made that a child didn’t like.” Whether these fears are rational is a matter
of opinion. However, these conservative beliefs have created strong Republican opposition
to ratification, and the Republican Party currently controls the Senate, Judiciary, and
Executive. The last time Democrats had control of the Senate and the Executive, during
President Obama’s first two years in office, Senate Democrats did not bring the Convention
before the Senate for a vote. During this time, thirty-one Republican Senators cosponsored
a resolution opposing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The
resolution stated that the convention "undermines traditional principles of US laws" and
any efforts to ratify would be “contrary to principles of self-government and federalism."
Because of the complete lack of political will, it is highly unlikely that the United States
will be able to get two-thirds of the Senate to ratify the United Nations treaty.
II. UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL POSITION
Lack of domestic political support for the ratification of international treaties is not
uncommon in the United States. In fact, the United States has demonstrated a consistent
pattern of not ratifying international treaties, so it should come as no surprise that it has
failed to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. For example, the
United States has not ratified the Convention on Discrimination against Women, the
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the UN Framework