by Mark Engman, Director Public Policy and Advocacy
My friend Jo Becker from Human Rights Watch said it best: now the United States is officially a “club of one” as the only United Nations member country that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
On October 1, 2015, the Government of Somalia finally completed its CRC ratification process. That is certainly welcome news for children in Somalia, who face enormous challenges. Somalia today has one of the highest under-five mortality rates in the world, alarming malnutrition rates, and very high levels of violence affecting children.
Ratifying the CRC won’t magically solve those problems. However, it means that the Somali Government can use the Convention’s principles and framework to build laws and institutions that protect children. And, Somalia has to report on CRC implementation periodically to global experts, shining a light on its progress and its shortcomings.
Somalia’s ratification serves to highlight the lonely position of the United States. Every place in the world where Americans travel; every country in the world where America does business; all of them are part of the CRC. I know that every time I travel, colleagues from around the world ask me, “What is up with you Americans? Why are you against the CRC?”
Good questions. We know that in fact, many Americans actually support the CRC. The United States is still a long ways from ratification. But we can at least take the next step in the ratification process: President Obama needs to send the CRC to the Senate, before he leaves office.
We need your help. Send a letter to President Obama and let him know that you believe he should take action on the CRC.