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Parental Rights – Analysis by Article of the UNCRC – Part 5 of 9

In Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Homeschool, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on May 29, 2009 at 5:00 am

Last year the Parental Rights.org group analyzed article by article the impact of ratification of the
United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) would have on Parental Rights and Children’s Rights in the United States.

Here is that continuing analysis:

Article 13, part 2: No, Thank You, Mom and Dad

In an age where information is becoming easier to access every day, children face new and uncharted risks. Our American heritage has long honored the right of parents to direct their child’s access to information, recognizing that in the vast majority of circumstances, parents are best situated to monitor their child’s activities and to provide necessary guidance during the transition from childhood to adulthood. Unfortunately, this vital role is being undermined by the rising tide of international thought, far removed from our own tradition and championed by international agreements like the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Last week, we began our discussion of Article 13 of the UNCRC by looking at its impact on what children are taught. This week, we return to Article 13 to examine the right of the child “to seek information,” and the impact this guarantee has on the relationship between children, their parents, and the state.

Article 13 is divided into two sections. The first states that “The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.” The remainder of the article clarifies that this right be restricted, but these restrictions must be provided by law and necessary to “respect the rights or reputations of others” or for “the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals.”

This article focuses on the implications of a child’s “right to information.” Although our Constitution does not expressly grant such a right, there is a growing trend – both within our boarders and abroad – to grant children such rights.

Setting Children Free

Article 13 begins by guaranteeing to all children the right to seek, receive and impart all kinds of information and ideas. Although some proponents of the Convention allege that article 13 is particularly important for children who are seeking to discover more of their identities after spending years of their lives in the care of the state, there is nothing in the text which limits this provision to such a narrow meaning.

According to advocates of the CRC, such as Marian Koren, international author for the UN at the Hague, a more acceptable interpretation of article 13 would require the government to establish and support a whole host of government programs aimed at educating children, such as “advice and information services for children, free access to libraries and loans, workshops for children on topics of their interest,” and so on. According to law professor Bruce Hafen, such a “right” is a broad departure from current US law, and not only poses difficulties for parents, but also for schools, teachers, and educational administrators who have to make difficult decisions about what they teach the children entrusted to their care.

No Thank You, Mom and Dad

While article 13 allows the right of information to be restrained in order to “respect the rights or reputations of others,” this respect does not extend to the decisions of parents. As Koren writes, whenever the state feels that parents are “failing” to protect their child’s rights, “it is the duty of the state to control parents to take their responsibilities and to fulfill their tasks towards their children.” (emphasis added)

American law has long recognized the importance of parents in guiding their children to make good decisions. In 1979, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Parham v. J.R. that “most children, even in adolescence, simply are not able to make sound judgments concerning many decisions, including their need for medical care or treatment. Parents can and must make those judgments.”

The UNCRC shifts this recognized balance in favor of increased autonomy for the child. According to Barbara Nauck, writing in the Cleveland State Law Review, “the more assertive language of Article 13 presumably means that Article 13 would prevail where there is a conflict between the child’s desire to freely express herself and the parent’s interest in curbing that expression.” Given the arguments advanced by many of today’s child advocates, “the interpretation of the Convention that will be argued in the courts is that the parent may act as counselor, suggesting the pros and cons and possible consequences, but the final choice would be in the hands of the child.” (emphasis added)

Our Children in Harm’s Way

It does not take a parent long to imagine the Pandora’s box that would be unleashed if the final choice is placed in the hands of the child. With television and the internet opening up an almost infinite number of avenues for children to seek information, it is more important than ever for parents to have the freedom to guide their children through the journey to adulthood. Article 13, and the autonomous ideology that it perpetuates, undermines these vital efforts.

Please forward this message onto your friends and urge them to sign the Petition to Protect Parental Rights.

Article written by Peter Kamakawiwoole, April 25, 2008.

Sources

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Marian Koren, “The Right to Information: Too Vague to Be True?” in Monitoring Children’s Rights, Eugeen Verhellen, ed. (The Hague, 1996): 675.

Bruce & Jonathan Hafen, “Abandoning Children to Their Autonomy: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Harvard International Law Review (1996): 468

Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584 (1979): 603.

Barbara J. Nauck, “Implications of the United States Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Civil Rights, the Constitution and the Family,” Cleveland State Law Review (1994): 693.

Richard G. Wilkins, “Why the United States Should not Ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Saint Louis University Law Review (2003): 420-421.

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