US has yet to adopt child development treaty

Ingrid Skjong

In hopes of pushing through a treaty aimed at ensuring child nutrition, safety and education, the University’s Institute for Child Development lent its support to the international legislation earlier this month.
The institute’s endorsement will be forwarded to the U.S. Senate, which is expected to take up the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child treaty this year. So far, 17 department members have signed a petition urging the treaty’s passage and institute research fellow Peter Verbeek expects more to add their names.
The treaty is aimed at improving and preserving the rights of children by requiring guidelines and policies for government and businesses to follow. It is the most endorsed human rights treaty in history, with 191 countries already ratified, Verbeek said.
Since the treaty was adopted by the General Assembly of Nations in 1989, the United States and Somalia are the only U.N. members that have yet to adopt it.
“It is really inappropriate for a country like ours not to stand for this,” said institute Director Richard Weinberg.
The University’s child development institute is one of the leading child development organizations in the country. Because of this standing, faculty hope to generate more support from others in the field, said Verbeek, who headed up the petition effort.
“We want to make as much noise as possible,” Verbeek said.
At least one signatory said the treaty’s senatorial approval is not an end in itself. Michael Maratsos, a professor in the institute, said the United States needs to get beyond the notion that it is doing enough for children.
Verbeek said he also wants to see other University departments become involved. The petition will be sent to the Senate within the next week.