new international and national legal battles

www(DOT)parentalrights(DOT)org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={8281CDC6-F08F-4F69-B460-690BCE63FC7E}

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ChrisC's picture

which part of the http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm convention on the rights of the child is so bad?

the parental rights announcement doesn't give any facts and only plays on the paranoia that the un is going to bring about some kind of apocalyptic one-world government.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Chris,
I think most of the concerns on both sides are that any federal standards involving family life can be used to invade the privacy of families. If you follow the links in my post you can read about how some in the homeschooling community feel about all of this, but you will find as many different opinions as their are flavors of Jelly Belly jellybeans.

ChrisC's picture

well, maybe libertarians bordering on anarchists might have problems with the general idea of such a document. but the document itself seems family-friendly, especially paragraphs 6 & 7 of the preamble:

Quote:
Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community,

Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding,

the crc seems targeted at 3rd world countries with a history of human rights violations. most of the items are already part of us law because the crc is mostly (maybe entirely) just a restatement of existing human rights documents in the context of their application to children.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Then what's the point of ratifying it? I oppose the UNCRC because it doesn't do anything for our citizens that the Constitution doesn't already cover, and we need the UN like a goat needs chopsticks. I've also got doubts about the Parental Rights Amendment for the same reasons- the rights of families/parents are already ensured, so why the need to say it again and put federal regulations on something that is guaranteed to the individual? But folks are afraid of what might happen if the Obama administration gets its way and the UNCRC is ratified in America, hence the introduction of the PRA.

There is some evidence that the UNCRC could be a slippery slope- in Britain, http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/consultations/downloadableDocs/PDF%20FINAL%20HOME... ]a report was submitted by a Graham Badman and was accepted by the British Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. Parts of it are based on articles in the UNCRC, such as-

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) gives children and young people over forty substantive rights which include the right to express their views freely, the right to be heard in any legal or administrative matters that affect them and the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. Article 12 makes clear the responsibility of signatories to give children a voice:

“Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.”

Yet under the current legislation and guidance, local authorities have no right of access to the child to determine or ascertain such views.

and

That designated local authority officers should:
o have the right of access to the home
o have the right to speak with each child alone

That a requirement is placed upon local authorities to secure the monitoring of the effectiveness of elective home education.

Such is the demand and complexity of 21st Century society and employment that further thought should be given to what constitutes an appropriate curriculum within the context of elective home education. Such a curriculum must be sufficiently broad and balanced and relevant to enable young people to make suitable choices about their life and likely future employment. Article 29 of the UNCRC states that:

1. States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:

1. The development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential
2. The development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations;
3. The development of respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own;
4. The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin;
5. The development of respect for the natural environment.

It all sounds very nice, but the crux of it is that this report recommends that the state have the power to choose the course of study and curriculum for home educators. It recommends that the opinion of the children be given equal weight in the family decision making process according to their age and maturity - and WHO is going to determine that? If you guessed "the state" you have just won a trip for two to the Bermuda...Triangle. Smile

It is just a matter of time before legislation based on these recommendations are introduced, and homeschooling parents in Britain are very concerned.

There is no reason to ratify the UNCRC in America. We already have laws that ensure that children are cared for and educated.

ChrisC's picture

Susan R wrote:
Then what's the point of ratifying it? I oppose the UNCRC because it doesn't do anything for our citizens that the Constitution doesn't already cover, and we need the UN like a goat needs chopsticks.
it seems to me that the point of ratifying is not that first-world countries need to change laws and improve their human rights record (although the us could stand for some improvement in the treatment of "unlawful combatants"). the point is to encourage 3rd-world countries with human-rights problems to sign on to the same treaties as the first-world countries.

it will take me a while to read all 84 pages of the report, but here are a few first impressions:

  • this report is an answer to specific questions from the secretary of state, which probably reflect public sentiment, including a belief that there is a problem with child abuse among homeschoolers. badman seems to not believe that there is a particular problem with abuse among homeschoolers
  • from 11.1, most european countries require homeschoolers to register. so the proposals about registration are supported by doing what is "normal"
  • probably some of the si people from the uk could give a better rationale, but it seems to me that the inclusion of the crc also follows this same philosophy of doing what is "normal". plenty of uk laws are mentioned in the report, and the crc doesn't have the force of law. anyway, it seems like badman is reading article 12 in a bit of a strange way. the second part of the article is only about judicial and administrative issues, not about issues within the home
  • according to recommendation 8, a 2-week advance notice would have to be given for any in-home monitoring visit (seems to be more like spot-checking than a thorough monitoring) and a written report would have to be made for every visit with a copy provided to the home visited and the child within 21 days
  • it seems to me that a normal homeschooler has plenty of activities outside of the home, and i can't see how never letting the kid outside as alledged by the national society for the prevention of cruelty to children in 8.6 can be an effective method of education
Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

If it were only so simple. When a country ratifies the UNCRC, they are bound to it by international law. This is more than just 'showing support'. And according to Article VI of our own Constitution, any treaty we sign is given equal weight as our Constitution- the UNCRC would become federal law. Courts would have to not only consider the Constitutionality of cases involving children, but also include in their decision making process the Articles of the UNCRC. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/ The Committee on the Rights of the Child ultimately decides what is the proper standard of living, adequate education, and quality health care for children- not the parent, the states, or our Constitution. Under the UNCRC, children are granted freedom of expression, access to information, freedom of conscience and religion, and a right to privacy.

In 1995, the Committee issued complaints to Poland, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Portugal, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom that they had not yet outlawed corporal punishment in the home, which by their definition is required under the CRC. The Committee defines corporal punishment as any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light. Most involves hitting (“smacking”, “slapping”, “spanking”) children, with the hand or with an implement - a whip, stick, belt, shoe, wooden spoon, etc. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/comments.htm

Also VI. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE CONVENTION
53. The Committee expects States to include in their periodic reports under the Convention
information on the measures taken to prohibit and prevent all corporal punishment and other
cruel or degrading forms of punishment in the family and all other settings, including on related
awareness-raising activities and promotion of positive, non-violent relationships and on the
State’s evaluation of progress towards achieving full respect for children’s rights to protection
from all forms of violence. The Committee also encourages United Nations agencies, national
human rights institutions, NGOs and other competent bodies to provide it with relevant
information on the legal status and prevalence of corporal punishment and progress towards its
elimination.

You can see that this affects more than just third world countries- see http://docserver.ingentaconnect.com/deliver/connect/mnp/09275568/v17n1/s... ]The Impact of the UNCRC on the Italian Legal System . http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ht/display/ContentDetails/i/2202 ]Israel is in violation of the UNCRC as we speak, because children living in war torn areas of Palestine are not receiving adequate food, shelter, and health care.