By Michael F. Haverluck
The rights of parents in the United States once again are in the bull’s-eye of a United Nations plan that is being reviewed by the U.S. Senate – this time under the proposed U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Supporters of the plan to bring the United States under the oversight of global standards say they’d like to see the proposal adopted by later this month, when the Americans with Disabilities Act anniversary is marked.
The plan was signed by Barack Obama in 2009, and the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations this week held a hearing where Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said he didn’t see a need for it.
“Why should we submit ourselves to other nations who have been far less effective and committed to this cause?” he wondered. “We can be the light on the hill … why should we submit instead of lead?”
Supporters say it’s about time that the United States start taking lessons from other nations on how to accommodate those with needs, and its ratification would work to ensure the equality and protection of disabled children who are vulnerable to mistreatment and discrimination.
Opponents say it’s just another world-government power grab that would violate the rights of Americans.
“We all want to show our love and care for people with disabilities,” said Home School Legal Defense Association Chairman Michael Farris. “This treaty, however, is not the way to do it.”
Farris insists that this treaty has all the trappings of socialism at its finest, as it would seize control from the legal guardians of children and hand it over to the government and an international organization.
“This treaty will give United Nations and government agents, not parents, the authority to decide all educational and treatment issues for disabled children,” Farris continued. “All of the rights that parents have under both traditional American law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act will be undermined by this treaty.”
Obama’s signature on the plan in 2009 moved it forward. At the time he said it was a civil rights issue, and insisted CRPD must be enforced.
“Disability rights aren’t just civil rights to be enforced here at home; they’re universal rights to be recognized and promoted around the world,” Obama said at the time. “As long as we as a people still too easily succumb to casual discrimination or fear of the unfamiliar, we’ve still got more work to do.”
But support in the Senate never has materialized for the measure. It would need a two-thirds approval.
Farris suggested that lack of support is good, but parents should not overlook the possibility that somehow the floodgates for government intrusion in families’ lives would be opened.
“Parental rights will be eviscerated by the mandatory application of the ‘best interest of the child’ standard,” Farris said. “If parents think that private education is best for their child, the CRPD gives the government the authority and the legal duty to override that judgment and keep the child in the government-approved program that the officials think is best for the child.”
According to Farris, the language of Article 7 of the CRPD should raise a major red flag, as the government would be given authority to make decisions regarding disabled children in every situation, “In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”
HSLDA contends that the passage of the CRPD by the Senate would create a new standard for the courts to use when deciding legal issues having to do with disabled children and their parents. In other words, it would revolutionize the relationship between parents and children in America.
“There is no need for the Senate to ratify the CRPD, as our nation’s state and federal laws already protect our precious loved ones with disabilities,” Farris explained. “It is outrageous that U.S. senators would support a treaty that surrenders U.S. sovereignty and family integrity to unelected U.N. bureaucrats.”
HSLDA also notes that besides infringing on parental rights, the CRPD stretches the government hands far into the business of every private citizen.
“Article 4(1)(e) reminds that ‘every person, organization, or private enterprise’ must eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability,” Farris informs. “On its face, this means that every home owner would have to make their own home fully accessible to those with disabilities.”
According to Farris, religious liberty is also in jeopardy if the U.N. treaty is passed.
“Article 4(1)(e) also means that the legal standard for the number of handicapped spaces required for parking at your church will be established by the U.N. – not your local government or your church,” the HSLDA cofounder points out.
Critics say the issue is more about bureaucrats grabbing power than anything else.
“Article 7(2) advances the identical standard for the control of children with disabilities as is contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Farris states. “This means that the government – acting under U.N. directives – gets to determine for all children with disabilities what the government thinks is best.”
Previous parental rights concerns have been raised by other U.N. plans, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which also has not been adopted by the United States.