Somalia Ratifies the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
In an event of historical importance, the government of Somalia has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. They are the 195 country to do so. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was open for signatures and ratification on November 20th, 1989, and received enough ratifications to enter into force on September 2nd, 1990. This is an important human rights document, as it clearly calls for a host of human rights for children. Just some of the human rights that the CRC calls for include the right ” that the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity,” that “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or family members,” that the state provide education, food, shelter, as well as various protections such as that of the right to life, development, name, and various other civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights.
Not having a centralized government for years due to civil war was one factor as to why Somalia did not ratify the document before.
Currently, there are only two countries in the world that have yet to ratify the document, namely South Sudan, which voted to become independent from Sudan in 2011, and the United States.
This is a great development, and should remind us that South Sudan and the United States have yet to ratify the document. Many in the United States, weary of signing onto a document that they view as taking power from parents and US judicial system, have sadly ignored the fact that the CRC grants significant parental rights over the children’s well being; the document does not reduce parental rights, but rather, supports them, all the while calling for states to ensure that children are protected.
This issue should be one in which United States President Barack Obama should make a top priority. In addition, both Democrats and Republicans must come together on this issue. By ratifying the document, the United States can show the world that children’s rights are a key priority. And, although those who are skeptical of signing have argued that the U.S. can (and has) supported children’s rights without ratifying the CRC, does so will still allow the U.S. to provide rights for children. However, it will help make all states more accountable internationally, as well as the U.S. leadership itself, in cases where children are not granted these fundamental human rights.