Parental Rights – Analysis by Article of the UNCRC – Part 7 of 9

In adoption abuse, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Indians, 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 30, 2009 at 10:18 pm

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 16: Privacy From Parents

During our series on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a constant theme has been the recurring intervention of government power in the relationship between children and their parents. Broad discretion for the state is particularly prevalent in the Convention’s “freedom” provisions, which guarantee choices to children when it comes to expression, information, religion, and association.

Perhaps the most troubling of these “freedom” provisions is article 16, which stipulates that “no child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence.” More so than any other section of the Convention, article 16 invokes the power of the government in ways previously unseen and untested in America’s legal and political history.

Paradigm Shift

The key to understanding article 16 is found in its absolute language: no child is to have his or her right to privacy violated. According to American law professor Cynthia Price Cohen, article 16 “uses the strongest obligatory language in the human rights lexicon to protect the child’s privacy rights.”

This is a strong break from American law. According to Catherine Ross, writing in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, the concept of a “right to privacy” has been used within the American context to support limited reproductive freedom for children, including the right to receive information, counseling, and contraceptives without parental consent or notification. But even in such cases, the Supreme Court has attempted to draw some sort of balance between the privacy rights of the child and the role of parents in raising and directing their children: never has the Court stated that children have an absolute right to privacy even from their parents.

Displacing Parents

In contrast, the “right to privacy” within the Convention is far broader than anything contemplated in American law or jurisprudence, bestowing an absolute right to privacy which, according to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in their 2004 report on Japan, includes privacy in “personal correspondence and searching of personal affects.” This includes more than just a child’s diary or letters to a pen pal: it includes e-mails composed, websites visited, and a growing plethora of other means of communication with the outside world.

Law professor Bruce Hafen notes that this strong language makes little allowance for the role of adults who are unavoidably involved in a child’s private world – namely, the child’s parents. Scholar Barbara Nauck adds that when the responsibility of parents to “guide and direct” their children comes into conflict with the right of children to have privacy, it is highly questionable whether parents will have the lawful authority to interfere with the child’s privacy.

Only the First Step

On this basis alone, law professor Richard Wilkins has warned that Article 16 has the potential to place the basic ability to discipline and monitor children – activities necessary for effective parenting – into serious doubt. In addition, the provision’s absolute guarantees could also be extended through state laws or the decisions of judges to include other “rights” guaranteed by the Convention – such as the freedom of religion, expression, or information – with devastating consequences to the authority and effectiveness of parents. It is the absolute, all-encompassing nature of article 16 that poses the real danger to both children and parents.

Please forward this message on to your friends and urge them to sign the Petition to Protect Parental Rights at http://www.parentalrights.org/join-the-fight.

Article written for ParentalRights.org by Peter Kamakawiwoole, May 12, 2008.


Cynthia Price Cohen, The Role of the United States in Drafting the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1998): 34.

Catherine Ross, An Emerging Right for Mature Minors to Receive Information (1999): 261.

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Japan, CRC/C/15/Add.231 (2004)

Bruce Hafen and Jonathan Hafen, Abandoning Children to their Autonomy (1996): 472.

Barbara Nauck, Implications of the United States Ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1994): 700.

Richard Wilkins, et. al., Why the United States Should Not Ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child (2003): 421.

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