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United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Background and Policy Issues
Luisa Blanchfield (au)
U.S. ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC or the Convention) may be a key area of focus during the 111th Congress. CRC is an international treaty that aims to protect the rights of children worldwide. It defines a child as any human being under the age of 18, and calls on States Parties to take all appropriate measures to ensure that children’s rights are protected — including the right to a name and nationality, freedom of speech and thought, access to healthcare and education, and freedom from exploitation, torture, and abuse. CRC entered into force in Sept. 1990, and has been ratified by 193 countries. Two countries, the U.S. and Somalia, have not ratified CRC. The President has not transmitted CRC to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification. Despite widespread U.S. support for the overall objectives of the Convention, some policymakers have raised concerns as to whether it is an effective mechanism for protecting children’s rights. This report provides an overview of CRC’s background and structure and examines evolving U.S. policy toward the Convention, including past and current Admin. positions and congressional perspectives. The report also highlights issues for the 111th Congress, including the Convention’s possible impact on federal and state laws, U.S. sovereignty, parental rights, and U.S. family planning and abortion policy. It also addresses the effectiveness of CRC in protecting the rights of children internationally and its potential use as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy.
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