On August 28 of this year, a United Nations committee declared that all countries have a legal obligation to protect children from environmental degradation and disaster — including regulating business — and to allow young citizens to seek legal redress. Their declaration is based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) treaty that every single nation in the World has ratified — except for the United States.
Madeline Albright, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. signed the UNCRC treaty, but President Clinton chose not to submit it to the Senate for ratification — so it is not legally binding. In turn, Bush-II, Obama, Trump, and Biden have all also chosen not to submit it for ratification. The UNCRC is just one of many human rights, climate emergency, and arms control treaties that all (or most) other nations have ratified but our nation has not.
In addition to UNCRC, some of the other human rights treaties that our government refuses to ratify include:
Why does the "Leader of the Free World" stand alone in refusing to sign treaties guaranteeing human rights, protecting our environment, and encouraging peace? Because racist, misogynist, corporatist, xenophobia, ultra-conservative Senators refuse. First it was the segregationist Dixiecrats, now it is their political descendants who control the Republican Party. Republicans have stymied ratification of CEDAW — a rejection that the U.S. shares only with Iran, Somalia and Sudan. Republicans have also blocked ratification of the ICESCR because it defines decent housing and the right to join a union as human rights.
Republicans (and their corporate-Democrat allies) have an array of political, cultural, religious, xenophobia, and financial reasons for opposing human rights treaties. One of those reasons is to "Make America Great Again" the way it was back in the 1880s.
States Rights is another reason for rejecting human rights treaties. The children in Montana who are suing the energy cartels over global warming are basing their case on the Montana Constitution rather than federal law because the Senate has blocked such environmental laws and there is no national constitutional provision. If, however, the U.S. had ratified the UNCRC treaty, that would lend moral (and possibly some legal) strength to their fight.
Similarly, since the Equal Rights Amendment has still not been officially ratified, the rights of women to control their own bodies and prevent state governments from forcing them to give birth against their will vary from one state to another. But if the CEDAW treaty were ratified, that might allow American women to bring denial of bodily-autonomy issues into an international forum.
Copyright © Bruce Hartford
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