With Somalia and South Sudan ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 2015, the United States is the last of the 197 United Nations member states that has not yet ratified the CRC. Despite being involved in the original negotiations to develop it under President Ronald Reagan’s administration and President Bill Clinton signing it, and despite ratifying optional protocols on human trafficking and the role of children in armed conflict, the U.S. government has not yet moved forward on ratifying the CRC.
The American Bar Association and its Center for Children and the Law have long supported ratification of the CRC. The ABA House of Delegates adopted a recommendation in 1991 supporting ratification of the CRC in principle. In 2014 the ABA renewed efforts, calling on the President Barrack Obama’s administration to submit the CRC to the Senate for consideration.
Advocates of the CRC feel the time is right to push again for ratification. Opponents argue that this treaty could infringe on parental rights, and that treaties more generally threaten American sovereignty. Professor Jonathan Todres, quoted in the March issue of the ABA Journal‘s article “ABA adds its voice to calls for the U.S. to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said that the CRC has been used as an unfortunate political pawn to the detriment of children in need. However, “[t]he language of the treaty and evidence from other countries’ implementation of the CRC demonstrate that the CRC can be a wonderful tool that supports children and their families,” he said.
Jonathan Todres is a professor of law at Georgia State University College of Law and a member of the Center for Law, Health & Society. His research focuses on a range of issues related to children’s rights and child well-being, including child trafficking and related forms of exploitation.