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The Long Tentacles of Treaties - July 24, 2001

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Americans are drowning in a sea of rules and red tape. Over the last several years, regulations have burgeoned at both the state and local levels, and the aftermath is apparent in almost every aspect of our lives. An even greater volume of burdensome laws emanates from the federal bureaucracy.

A morass of environmental regulations and building code requirements delays the construction of infrastructure and development projects in both the public and private sectors. In the health care industry, almost as much time is spent on paperwork as on direct treatment of patients. Education and child care laws are passed presumably with the best interests of our children in mind, but along with their creation comes numerous obstacles to establishing innovative day care centers or alternative schools. Ask anyone who has struggled to start a small business. The difficult task of an entrepreneur is made that much harder by the countless number of roadblocks and bureaucratic machinations that must be deftly managed.

Enmeshed in these seemingly endless entanglements, most Americans are unaware that yet another insidious bureaucracy is quietly emerging. This bureaucracy has the potential and inherent power to affect the life of every individual in our country, and it lacks even the appearance of democratic protections. Astoundingly, it is generating an incredible volume of law that is originating, not in our own country, but rather from outside our borders. It is a sphere of global influence operating as international law.

Because international law activity takes place on the global stage, it seems very distant from matters that typically concern most people in their daily lives. International law generally manifests itself in the form of treaties. Most people think that treaties deal exclusively with the relations between nations. Yet the treaties that are being crafted by internationalists deal specifically with some of the most intimate and private details of our existence, including family relationships, public education, and religious beliefs.

Among the major issues that most people would agree we need to address as a society is the decline of the American family. However, there is a startling bit of information with which Americans need to become familiar regarding a further threat to the basic family relationship. Influential groups from outside our nation's borders are vigorously and openly at work, making plans to exercise control over our children.

The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child is a treaty that was signed in 1990 by leaders from more than 70 nations. It involves the relationship of parents with their children and actually sets children's rights in opposition to those of their parents. Alarmingly, it opens the door for extensive governmental intrusion within the confines of the American home.

There is a provision of the Convention that allows children to be separated from their parents when it is deemed necessary. This same provision does permit parents to maintain personal contact with their children, but not when it is contrary to the child's best interests. What we must ask ourselves is, who is going to determine these so-called "best interests?" Well, the answer is already available. The Convention provides for a committee of child rearing experts to make sure that the treaty's goals are followed.

In addition, the Convention on the Rights of the Child talks about "competent authorities" who would be allowed to interfere when a child desires to exercise his or her rights in accordance with the treaty. This committee has already been in operation and has reviewed parenting practices in Great Britain.

What would parents think if they discovered that they could be prosecuted for monitoring books, magazines, music, or television programming of their children? This Convention grants children the "right" to read, listen to, see, or write about content of their own choosing. This effectively removes any rights of parents to censor what goes into their child's formative mind, including obscene, sacrilegious, or anti-American material.

The Convention also interferes with the ability of parents to raise their children within their chosen religious faith. It grants to the child the "right" to choose different religious pursuits than those of the parents.

All nations that become parties to this agreement are obliged to carry out the provisions of the treaty through all legal measures, including legislative, administrative, or any other available means. In the event this treaty is ratified by our country, our nation would be obligated to restructure society in accordance with the provisions therein.

It is no accident that the Constitution expressly avoided granting the control of law involving family issues to the federal government. The Founding Fathers held a biblical perspective, where the sacredness of the parental function was not a subject for a centralized governmental grant.

The drafters of international treaties and initiatives purporting to deal with the relations of parents and children view the world situation quite differently. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child extends its long tentacles and attempts to penetrate that most precious of relationships, the one between parent and child.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

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