Thursday, June 26, 2008

Parental Rights in Danger

This is about Article 18 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Article 18 stands out because it affects not only the relationship between the UN and the nation that ratifies the Convention, but also the relationship between private individuals and their government: a relationship that is usually changed through legislation at a local level. In fact, the UN’s Implementation Handbook for the CRC explains that “when article 18 was being drafted, the delegate from the United States of America commented that it was rather strange to set down responsibilities for private individuals, since the Convention could only be binding on ratifying governments.”

But instead of paying heed to this objection, the drafters of the CRC rejected it, making the Convention enforceable against private individuals and requiring that “parental rights be translated into principles of parental responsibilities.” The Handbook itself notes that if the actions of parents could be shown to impair the child’s physical, psychological, or intellectual development, “the parents” – not the state – “can be found to be failing in their responsibilities.” (emphasis added).

The “best interests of the child” is a significant theme in the Convention, providing “decision and policy makers with the authority to substitute their own decisions for either the child’s or the parents’.”

5 comments:

Fred said...

This sounds like what is already happening in Europe. You could live in the U.K., yet have a court in Brussels, Belgium declare a local law invalid.

thislittlepiggy said...

Gack.

Anne said...

Fred - It doesn't seem quite right to me.

Piggy - Gackie!

doozie said...

I'm lost

Fred said...

I'm always lost. Welcome to the club.