The UN Grab for Your Child

I submit that this House has not taken the time to reflect upon the implications of the Convention and will be in for a tremendous shock when judges around the country start applying the Convention as the supreme law of the land.1
• Representative Thomas J. Bliley (R-VA),

September 17, 1990

The United Nations World Summit for Children, held in New York during September 1990, was widely heralded as “the largest gathering ever of world leaders.” President Bush, in the midst of his Persian Gulf military buildup, left Washington to join more than 70 other heads of state at the UN for the historic event. The poignant photographs and news clippings of presidents and prime ministers embracing adorable tykes while calling on the world to “save the children” contrasted sharply with the grim forecasts of war and gave a softer edge to the President’s almost daily calls for a new world order and a strengthened United Nations.
According to UN organizers, more than a million persons worldwide participated in candlelight vigils that week.2


In New York, politicians and entertainment celebrities jostled with one another for television and photo opportunities at the city’s numerous summit programs. Over and over again, summit participants and media pundits parroted the litany of statistics compiled by the officials of the Children’s Defense Fund and other self-proclaimed guardians of the world’s children. Beneath all of these emotional appeals lay an agenda full of ever-larger and ever-more-costly socialist programs.

Time magazine and its collectivist chorus of media allies cheered the summit’s support for what was termed “a bold 10-year plan to reduce mortality rates and poverty among children and to improve access to immunizations and education.”3


Noble Sounding Rhetoric

But the real summit send-off was saved for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The UN has hailed this treaty as “a landmark in international efforts to strengthen justice, peace, and freedom in the world,” and “the most complete statement of children’s rights ever made.”4 UNICEF Director James Grant called the treaty “the Magna Carta for children, an instrument of far-reaching significance for the needs of those who are humanity’s most vulnerable.”5 Who could find fault with such lofty aspirations? Almost no one, it seems. The Convention won world support like no previous treaty.


According to the UN’s Fact Sheet No. 10, The Rights of the Child:

The Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted — unanimously — by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 November, 1989....

After its adoption by the General Assembly, the Convention was opened for signature on 26 January 1990. Sixty-one countries signed the document on that day — a record first-day response....

The Convention entered into force on 2 September 1990 — one month after the twentieth State ratified it.... A little over seven months separated the opening for signature and the entry into force of the Convention; this is a very short period for an international treaty — generally it takes much longer — and it shows the world-wide interest and support for the child Convention. [Emphasis in original]

A Lone Voice in Congress

More truthfully, it shows the effectiveness of the worldwide propaganda campaign orchestrated by internationalists who are willing to exploit a natural concern for the plight of children to advance their agenda for a new world order. In the days before the summit, both Houses of the U.S. Congress hurriedly passed resolutions urging President Bush to sign the convention and send it to the Senate for ratification before attending the summit. Opposition to the Convention was virtually nonexistent. Only Representative Thomas J. Bliley (R-VA) rose to urge caution and restraint.6 Bliley did not merely nitpick about commas and whereas. His reading of the document left him convinced that “the convention represents a potential threat to our form of government.”7


Was he reading the same document his colleagues were given? More than likely, he was the only member of Congress who actually did read what the Convention says. During his remarks in the House on September 17, 1990, Bliley asked, “Will the Convention really solve the problems our children face?

Is it merely an article of good intentions to make us feel good about ourselves? Or, is it actually a potential threat to some of our most precious freedoms, civil liberties, and our form of government?”8

The congressman from Virginia reminded his colleagues that no hearings had been held on the treaty they were asking the President to sign. “I submit,” said Bliley,

“that this House has not taken the time to reflect upon the implications of the Convention and will be in for a tremendous shock when judges around the country start applying the Convention as the supreme law of the land.”9

Bliley continued:

“Have we determined the impact that this Convention will have on our system of federalism? No. Have we resolved in our minds its inherent conflicts with the U.S. Constitution? I think not. Do we realize the great new powers Congress is taking away from the sovereign States, as well as giving up itself, to the judiciary?”10

Dangerous Document

The Convention is a lengthy, complex document comprised of 54 articles dealing with adoption, education, child labor, child pornography, child abuse, prenatal and postnatal health care for women, family reunification, and many other issues. Although it is replete with rhetoric about “rights” and “freedom” and noble-sounding appeals for the protection of children, from the standpoint of American constitutional law it is fundamentally flawed. Like the UN Charter and many UN conventions addressing “rights,” this Convention on the Rights of the Child is based on the philosophy that rights are granted by governments, and it is, therefore, completely at odds with the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

In an op-ed piece appearing in the Washington Times, Bliley’s solitary voice again warned of the dangers presented by the Convention:

As written, it places government in a superior position to its citizens by granting these rights to children. What is so bad about that? Such an interpretation is antithetical to our limitations on government. Most of these “rights” are not presently found in our Constitution, but rather, are considered to be among our inalienable rights endowed by our Creator.11

It can’t be repeated too often that, in the Declaration of Independence, our Founding Fathers asserted the revolutionary and “self-evident” truth that “men ... are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” The Founders went on to assert, “to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men.”


Note the logical sequence:

1) God exists

2) God creates man and endows him with rights

3) Man creates government to protect those rights

The individual precedes and is superior to government. Our Constitution is not a body of law to govern the people; it was formulated to govern the government, to make government the servant and not the master of the people.


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child springs from a totally different philosophical foundation. Like the UN Charter and the Soviet Constitution, it views rights not as God-given and unalienable, but as government-given and conditional. This view of the origin of rights is completely incompatible with liberty. For, if one accepts the premise that rights come from government, then one must accept the corollary that government is entitled to circumscribe, withhold, or even cancel those rights.


This concept of rights was stated by Andrei Vishinsky, Stalin’s chief prosecutor and chairman of the Soviet Supreme Court, during debate on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948 at the United Nations. Said Vishinsky: “The rights of human beings cannot be considered outside the prerogatives of governments, and the very understanding of human rights is a governmental concept.”12 A typical example of this philosophy can be found in Article 14, Section 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child:

“States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

Section 3 then proceeds to neuter that right with a Soviet-style clause:

“Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.”

Similar words are used repeatedly in the Convention to legally wipe out all guarantees for the “rights” that are set forth in the document.

Article 10 says: “The right to leave any country shall be subject only to such restrictions as are prescribed by law....” This is the kind of pliable legalese beloved by all tyrants. And it stands in stark contrast to the absolute, unconditional nature of our Bill of Rights.


At Odds With Constitution

The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights are directed primarily at limiting the power and scope of the federal government and secondarily at providing the legal standing for the people and the states to assert themselves against any encroachments by the federal government. The First Amendment, for example, states: “Congress shall make no law....” The Convention on the Rights of the Child, on the other hand, supplies opportunity and authority for the United Nations — or the U.S. government acting under the UN Convention — to enforce its provisions against state and local governments, and even against parents.

Article 13 of the Convention mandates that the child “shall have the right to freedom of expression,” including “freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.”

Could this be construed to mean that parents who do not allow their child to “express” himself by wearing Satanic symbols or obscene T-shirts are violating the child’s rights? Do children have the “right” to speak to their parents in any manner they choose? Could school authorities who impose dress codes or who prohibit the printing of obscene, racist, or other objectionable material in a school newspaper be prosecuted under the Convention? Would state laws and local ordinances restricting the access of minors to pornography and “mature” literature be struck down?

Could Article 16’s provisions for the child’s right to privacy be used to secure abortions for youngsters without parental knowledge or consent, or to prohibit parents from searching a child’s room for drugs or other dangerous or illegal items? What about Article 31’s guarantee of the child’s right to “rest and leisure,” “recreational activities,” and “cultural life and the arts”? Would parents who make little Ricky do chores or practice the piano when he says he wants to play baseball be liable for prosecution? Might they be hauled before a judge or have their child removed from their custody because they didn’t allow him to attend a “heavy metal” rock concert?


Blank Check for Judiciary

Are these unfounded, paranoid fears? Hardly. Anyone in the least familiar with similar litigation and court decisions of the past few years knows that cases like these are certain to arise. And then?

“Hundreds of judges will be left to interpret the convention as they please,” warns Representative Bliley, “and will possess all power to supersede state laws....”13

Under the currently-prevailing jurisprudence, Article VI of the Constitution is badly misconstrued to hold that all treaties — regardless of their constitutionality — are the “supreme law of the land” (see Chapter 6). And there are plenty of revolutionaries in our state and federal judiciaries who would leap at the opportunity to use this UN Convention to launch judicial assaults against state and federal laws, state constitutions, and even the U.S. Constitution itself.

From the floor of the House of Representatives, Bliley asked his colleagues: “Who can explain to me the meaning of Article 24, Section 3 which provides that ‘States parties shall take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children.’”14 “Here,” noted Mr. Bliley, “is a new standard for us to ponder: Something need not be hazardous or even pose a risk — it need be only prejudicial to be abolished by government. Who will define what is prejudicial as this Convention takes effect?”15


Who indeed, but the very state and federal judges who have already run roughshod over the Constitution. These same judges will define what the Convention means by “health” and by “traditional practices.” Does “health” encompass physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, as some argue? If so, what about the situation of the confused teenager who has been convinced by the prohomosexual “Project 10” program at school that he is “gay”? If his parents try to convince him otherwise, or take him to their pastor or a psychologist for counseling, are they engaging in illegal “traditional practices” prejudicial to his emotional health? Could requiring a child to participate in traditional practices, like family prayer and devotions, or to attend church services also be prejudicial?


Without doubt, there are many lawyers who would so argue, and many judges who would so rule.


A Socialist Manifesto

There are many other pitfalls to be found in the Convention. The treaty recognizes a “right of the child to education” (Article 28), and in true Marxist fashion requires every nation that is a contracting party to “make primary education compulsory and available to all.” Private education is not explicitly outlawed, but private schools, like government schools, must teach “the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations” and must “conform to such minimum standards as may be laid down by the State.” (Article 29)

Several other articles of this UN Convention would impose new, open-ended obligations on national and/or state governments. In addition to “free” education, the state would also be required to provide free child care, health care services, social security, family planning services, prenatal and postnatal care for mothers, and nutrition and housing “to the maximum extent of their available resources.” (Article 4)


This amounts to a whole new socialist manifesto for America. Not only would it provide politicians and judges unprecedented opportunity to reach into the taxpayers’ pockets for all “available resources,” but the Convention would fundamentally alter the function of government from a protector of rights to a provider of services. This would make government a violator of rights, since government has no wealth of its own and must first take from one segment of society (violating its rights) to provide for another segment.


And gov’s ability and propensity to violate rights and to control the people it cares for always increase as more and more people become dependent upon government for goods and services.


Look Who Has Signed

One hundred thirty-four countries have signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and 85 have ratified it. Although President Bush has voiced his support of the Convention, the United States has not yet signed or ratified the treaty — a situation that “liberals,” internationalists, and Establishment Insiders find intolerable. After all, the argument goes, as the world’s leading exemplar of freedom, our nation must show itself to be at least as “progressive” regarding children’s rights as Convention signatories China, Zambia, Afghanistan, Albania, Yemen, Cuba, Bulgaria, and Algeria. If we ratify this treaty, we will join the stellar company of ratifiers like the former USSR, Angola, Mongolia, Romania, Nepal, Uganda, Vietnam, Laos, Zaire, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Yugoslavia, and North Korea.


Many of these signatory nations outdo one another as the worst child abusers in the history of mankind. Even as their heads of state signed the parchment, their troops and police forces were murdering, oppressing, and otherwise violating the rights of millions of children in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

In an attempt to win pro-life support, the Convention’s preamble feigns support for “appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.” But the preamble is not legally binding, and every effort to include specific language in the treaty protecting the unborn has been rebuffed. This should surprise no one, since the UN, through its Population Fund, World Health Organization, and other agencies and programs, is one of the world’s greatest promoters of abortion (see Chapter 9).

“A great many people,” observes Bliley, “would probably be willing to sacrifice major portions of our Constitution if the ratification of this document could instantly end poverty and drug abuse, guarantee that not another child would be physically or sexually abused and shut down the pornography industry that has infected the cell of our society, the family. But it will not, and we will have exchanged our history as the oldest constitutional government for a new bureaucracy.”16

Bliley concludes:

“It finally becomes clear. Ratification is not about children; it is about power.”17

Like the many other UN treaties (addressing the environment, women’s rights, animal rights, minority rights, drug trafficking, etc.), the Convention on the Rights of the Child is about power — the power to undermine and destroy our Constitution, our national sovereignty, and our God-given rights.




1. Congressional Record, September 17, 1990, p. H 7687.
2. “Suffer the Little Children,” Time, October 8, 1990, p. 41.
3. Ibid.
4. “A Landmark for Children’s Rights,” in The Rights of the Child: Fact Sheet No. 10 (United Nations, 1990), p. 1.
5. UNICEF director James Grant quoted by Senator Jesse Helms in Congressional Record, September 11, 1990, p. S 12788.
6. Thomas Bliley, Congressional Record, September 17, 1990, p. H 7687-88.
7. Bliley, “U.N. Playpen Politics: A Bid to Nanny,” Washington Times, September 24, 1990, p. G3.
8. Bliley, Congressional Record, p. H 7687.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.
11. Bliley, Washington Times.
12. Andrei Vishinsky in UN General Assembly debate, quoted by Robert W. Lee, The United Nations Conspiracy (Appleton, WI: Western Islands, 1981), p. 100. See also John Foster Dulles, War or Peace (New York: Macmillan, 1950), p. 203.
13. Bliley, Washington Times.
14. Bliley, Congressional Record, p. H 7687.
15. Ibid.
16. Bliley, Washington Times.
17. Ibid.

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