- Shannon Chung (She/Her/Hers)
- Lily Hong (She/Her/Hers)
The Convention on the Rights of a Child is an international human rights treaty that was originally signed in 1989. The 1989 Convention focused on the economic, social, health, and cultural rights of the child instead of the adult. Conceptualizing and differentiating children as non-adults, the treaty asserts and reinforces children’s vulnerabilities and incapacities. However, in some facets, the treaty protects the rights of a child at the level of an adult—such as with the right to free expression. This committee will revisit this Convention in modern-day 2022 to redraft the treaty, amending and supplementing with additional provisions that address the issues below.
This committee will focus on redrafting the entirety of the treaty and will therefore cover multiple issues that need to be addressed. Ideally, the United Nations would like to draft a Convention that would be ratified by all of its members, including the United States. There are a few considerations that are not fully addressed in the current version of the Convention.
With the advent of technology, it is time to reconsider the extent to which even the most well-intentioned parents could be too intrusive on children’s privacy. Invasion of children’s privacy is often accepted and normalized, as being a parent comes with the expectation and responsibility of keeping their children safe and displaying their love and pride to others. In the past, being a mindful parent might have meant watching your child at a playground and enforcing curfews. However, with the development of more advanced safety technology, the new and expanded arsenal of tools has allowed parents to be much more invasive in their children’s lives. Being a loving parent also means capturing and saving notable moments and memories in their children’s lives. While that might have meant keeping a scrapbook or printing photos to be mailed out to relatives in the past, now with the unprecedented boom of social media, capturing moments and saving memories have taken on an entirely different meaning: without their children’s consent and even before they develop to an age-of-reason, parents post and share photos of their children to the rest of the world.
However, the US still has not ratified the Convention even as it exists because of fears that it will threaten parents’ authority over their children (in domains such as children’s religion or health) and disrupt the current balance between the rights of a parent vs. the state. The US also engages in activities, such as trying children in adult courts, that violate the provisions of the Convention. The US also fears that state sovereignty will be threatened.
Delegates will redraft the Convention with these conflicting considerations in mind.