It was recently brought to my attention that the United States and Somalia are the only two countries which have not ratified the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of The Child, a far-reaching agreement that protects the welfare of children and teenagers from various kinds of abuse -for instance being recruited to serve in the military before they are 18, being victims of pornography and also to being tried as adults.
It is quite understandable why Somalia has not ratified the treaty – the country has no central government and is basically formed of various tribes. However, there is no explanation why the United States enjoys such dubious company. Sure, a lot of it stems from the fact that Americans oppose government interference with states’ laws (the whole medical marijuana controversy is allegedly based around state sovereignty), but the fact is that without ratifying such conventions we end up being on the wrong side of legal controversies – especially when we sentence teenagers to life over a crime committed when they were under 18.
It is time to end this embarrassment. We should pressure our lawmakers to ratify the convention and reject the GOP-driven resolutions to stop the CRC from being ratified by the United States. After all, this is a resolution that was drafted with the help of the United States. We are not losing our sovereignty by ratifying this law – we are recognizing what the rest of the world sees as the fundamental rights of children.