CHILD LABOR COALITION PRESS RELEASE: Advocates join Nobel Laureate Satyarthi in plea to President to ratify UN Convention on Rights of the Child

For immediate release: June 13, 2016
Contact: Reid Maki, Child Labor Coalition, (202) 207-2820, reidm@nclnet.org

Washington, DC—With many World Day Against Child labor (officially June 12) events observed today and tomorrow around the globe, the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), representing 40 groups and millions of Americans, joins Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi in his recent appeal to President Barack Obama for the U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20, 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child is a human rights treaty that promotes the rights of all children worldwide. The CRC recognizes all children’s rights to develop physically, mentally, and socially to their fullest potential, to express their opinions freely, and to participate in decisions affecting their future. The CRC is the first legally binding international instrument that incorporates the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political, and social—into a single text.

The United States of America played a pivotal role in the long process of drafting the CRC, and yet, now is the only country in the United Nations that has not ratified the convention.

In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio this week, Satyarthi, who won the Peace Prize in 2014 along with teen education activist Malala Yousafzai, appealed to President Obama, also a former Nobel Peace Prize laureate, to take action before he leaves office: I would humbly appeal to the outgoing President Obama to leave a great footprint…by way of ratifying [the] U.N. Convention on the Right of the Child in the United States in the Congress and the Senate.

Satyarthi, who has freed more than 80,000 child slaves in India, said he spoke for “millions of American children and young people” whose basic human rights would be better safeguarded with a ratified CLC.

“There are dozens of groups in the US that want to begin ratification work on the CRC,” said Reid Maki, coordinator of the CLC, “but the treaty must be sent to the Senate for that work to truly begin.”

“The CRC will help ensure basic human rights for the world’s 2.2 billion children,” said Sally Greenberg, co-chair of the Child Labor Coalition and executive director of the National Consumers League (NCL).  “It’s time to ratify the CRC so that all children and their families have the opportunity to thrive and succeed. NCL has long supported the rights of children across the globe and the US needs to join the rest of the world in protecting their well-being. Moving to ratify the CRC would be a great legacy for President Obama.”

“President Obama is ideally placed to move the ratification of the CRC forward and to bring the U.S. in line with the rest of the world. This is not an area where U.S. exceptionalism brings positive connotations,” said Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum.

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