[JURIST] House democrats on Friday introduced [press release] a resolution [text] calling for a Children’s Bill of Rights, which would include 22 points meant to ensure the “physical well-being, social and emotional well-being, and educational and life skills” of all children. Representative Judy Chu, a sponsor of the bill, said, “[t]he Children’s Bill of Rights solidifies our commitment to all of the children in our nation. It gives a comprehensive framework that ensures children are free of abuse and neglect, have quality education and a healthy environment. I am so proud to join my colleagues in introducing a bill that makes the welfare of our nation’s children our priority.” Representatives sponsoring the bill note that the US is the only UN nation yet to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child [text], a resolution protecting the rights of minors worldwide.
Last week, Somalia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which left the US as the only nation yet to ratify. Shortly before, the United Nations Children Fund announced [JURIST report] a plea to raise $14 million in an effort to support the thousands of children migrating to Europe from war-torn Middle Eastern nations. In July Human Rights Watch accused Syria’s main Kurdish militia of violating [JURIST report] the child soldier ban under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. Specifically, Article II of the Protocol states that “Parties shall ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 18 years are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces… children under the age of 18 should not be recruited to armed groups for any reason.” Earlier this year the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Juan Méndez called for modifications and alternatives to the detention processes [JURIST report] of children in order to ensure their human rights.