PROGRAMS FOR FELLOWS AND JUNIOR FACULTY
THE COMMONWEALTH FUND/HARVARD UNIVERSITY FELLOWSHIP IN MINORITY HEALTH POLICY
FELLOWS' PRACTICUM: 2008-2009
Sanjeev K. Sriram, MD, CFHUF Fellow
“The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Addressing Obstacles to Ratification and its Relevance to a Rising Minority Majority Child Population”
Since being adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) has become the mostly widely ratified human rights treaties around the world. The United States signed the UNCRC on February 16, 1995, but the US Senate has not ratified the treaty. The Bush Administration expressed concerns regarding the UNCRC’s legal conflicts with parental rights and US sovereignty. Though the Obama Administration supports the goals of the UNCRC, it has described the need to review its impact on the American system of federalism. This practicum project puts the UNCRC into a historical context and describes its rights of protection, provision, and participation, as well as the monitoring mechanisms that it creates. This project then gives a basic analysis of these political, legal, and ideological obstacles to ratification of the UNCRC, and possible methods of addressing them through the legal tools of reservations, understandings, and declarations (RUDs).
The relevance of the UNCRC would not be lost with the addition of RUDs. This analysis demonstrates that ratification of the UNCRC would lend political legitimacy to the efforts of child advocates and policymaking. As our country’s child population becomes increasingly minority majority, our policymaking must take into account the disparities in child health and development resulting from the effects of economic, social, political, and environmental factors. Because the Convention emphasizes this interdependency of social determinants impacting child well being, the UNCRC would better inform American dialogue around policy implementation. Taking a more comprehensive, human rights approach to child policies thus has the potential of improving the health and development of our young people.
Preceptor: Felton Earls, MD, Professor of Human Behavior and Development, Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health
Sponsoring Organization: Harvard School of Public Health
Previous | Back to Index | Next