United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Background and Policy Issues [June 9, 2011] [open pdf - 260KB]
"U.S. ratification of the United Nations (U.N.) Convention on the Rights of the Child (hereafter referred to as CRC or the Convention) may be a key area of focus during the 112th Congress, particularly if the Barack Obama Administration seeks the advice and consent of the Senate. CRC is an international treaty that aims to protect the rights of children worldwide. It defines a child as any human being under the age of 18, and calls on States Parties to take all appropriate measures to ensure that children's rights are protected--including the right to a name and nationality; freedom of speech and thought; access to healthcare and education; and freedom from exploitation, torture, and abuse. CRC entered into force in September 1990, and has been ratified by 193 countries, making it the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world. Two countries, the United States and Somalia, have not ratified CRC. The President has not transmitted CRC to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification. […] This report provides an overview of CRC's background and structure and examines evolving U.S. policy toward the Convention, including past and current Administration positions and congressional perspectives. It also highlights issues for the 112th Congress, including the Convention's possible impact on federal and state laws, U.S. sovereignty, parental rights, and U.S. family planning and abortion policy. In addition, the report addresses the effectiveness of CRC in protecting the rights of children internationally and its potential use as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. It will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, R40484