Monday, June 05, 2006

The Greatest Nation on Earth?

I am in the process of writing an ethics paper on the role children should have in their own health care decisions. In the process of doing my research I learned about the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. This 1989 Declaration seeks to bind governments into the recognition of the rights of children. The Declaration was borne out of concern for the precarious status of children in so many countries, where children are forced into labor, soldiering, or prostitution.

Nearly every U.N. represented country has signed and ratified the declaration. One notable exception is the United States. The furor over ratification of the Declaration in this country are the perceived threats to the institution of the family and a threat to our national sovereignty. 192 countries believe in the value of this Declaration. However, the Bush administration must think that the United States is distinct from the rest of the civilized world:

"The Convention on the Rights of the Child may be a positive tool for promoting child welfare for those countries that have adopted it. But we believe the text goes too far when it asserts entitlements based on economic, social and cultural rights. ... The human rights-based approach ... poses significant problems as used in this text."

Yup, we don't need to worry about human rights.

Pretty soon, we may be thumbing our nose at yet another standard of human rights, The Geneva Conventions. The LA Times reported today that the U.S. Army Manual may "omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans 'humiliating and degrading treatment' ..."

Let's not forget about the recent leak about the current administraion's complete lack of respect for due process when it comes to it's citizens' private phone converstations.

If this keeps up, we won't have to worry about stationing National Guardsmen on the borders to keep out illegal immigrants. No one will want to come here.


elendil said...

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and a few other NGOs, have designated June Torture Awareness Month. We've created a blogroll you can join if you're interested. You can find it here. The idea is that everyone is linked to from the blogroll, and in exchange, you discuss torture (as you already do), and link to the Torture Awareness site to help support the NGOs.

There's a lot of bloggers concerned about human rights abuse in the War on Terror. If we coordinate, we can show our support and help Amnesty and HRW make Torture Awareness Month a success.

changejunkie said...

Not the greatest nation on earth, not in a long long time, if ever. We are bullies, plain and simple. We use "human rights" as a convenient excuse to force other countries to do what we want, but we exempt ourselves from the same strictures. It makes me ashamed of our government.