Which countries haven’t ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?

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The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child protects children’s rights and is widely ratified, but the US and Somalia have not ratified it. The US has concerns about parental rights and the death penalty for minors. Even ratified countries don’t always follow all aspects of the treaty.

The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international treaty designed to protect the rights of all children aged 18 and under, and is one of the most widely ratified human rights treaties in the world. Only two UN member states have not ratified it: the United States and Somalia. Both Somalia and the United States have signed the treaty, indicating their agreement with it, but have not ratified it, meaning they are not required to follow it. Somalia announced in 2009 that it intended to ratify it, but had not done so by early 2012.

Learn more about the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the rights of the child:

There are a few reasons why the United States has not ratified the treaty despite being instrumental in drafting it. Some groups say the US already follows most of the protocols outlined in the treaty, so it doesn’t have to. Others say signing the treaty would violate parental rights or that the treaty would make the government too involved in family life. A particular sticking point is the treaty’s ban on the death penalty for people under the age of 18, which until 2005 was legal in parts of the U.S.
Even those countries that have ratified the treaty do not always follow all aspects of it. For example, the treaty bans corporal punishment of children, which is still permitted in several countries.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child differs from the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which was one of the first protocols on the rights of the child adopted internationally. The Declaration was adopted by the League of Nations and formed the basis for the Convention.

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