Posted in Uncategorized

The Rights of a Child

Welcome back, dear readers! It’s been alittle while but, something has been on my mind and I’ve been gathering information and reading about this topic. In an older post of mine Childhood Trauma Shapes Adult Views, I talked about human rights and how every human being is entitled to those rights. I also mentioned that the United States is the only industrialized nation that has not ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights treaty. There’s another treaty that I think needs to come to light: The Convention on the Rights of the Child. This convention was formed in September of 1990 and has been ratified by most participating countries. The United States is the only country that has not ratified this treaty. A movement has been circulating the internet a #saveourchildren. This treaty acknowledges that the child has his/her rights from the moment they are born. In this treaty, a child is defined as a human being under the age of majority.

It adds protection in the Juvenile justice system and would end sending children to prison for life without the possibility of parole. Too many children are introduced to the United States’ “Justice” system at too young of an age. A large number are simply for childish acts and behaviors like tantrums or arguing with their teacher. Instead of working through the child’s behavior, they’re accused of crimes and then pushed through the court system and end up traumatized by our prison system. According to the International Justice Resource Center, roughly 200,000 American children were tried as adults and placed in adult detention centers. Many adolescents are shuffled through the adult justice system as early as 16 and 17. Also, many have had their due process denied with long waits and their ability to waive legal representation. Without an adult or representative present, while being questioned by authorities, they are in a fragile and suggestive state. How is this okay?! We treat children as small adults in times where it is inappropriate to do so. Their development is not complete; they cannot comprehend everything that is happening. Exposure to trauma can even delay brain development. Even the smartest child should not be expected to behave or think as an adult. The United States is 75 years behind in human rights, but our greatest failure has been the juvenile justice system. We have failed our young and have violated numerous human rights along the way. It is not okay! Children deserve to be happy, healthy, expressive, and innocent. Our Judicial and punitive systems need reformation. 

While there has been some growing support for ending life without parole in the juvenile system, there has not been any support to ratify this treaty. There hasn’t even been a vote! The opposition has been that it would cause government overreach into family life or would limit the sovereignty of the United States. The United States has lost its ability to speak in terms of human rights. Our underage citizens need protection from the government, just as adult citizens need theirs.

Posted in Uncategorized

Childhood Trauma Shapes Adult Views

Hello Dear Readers,

So, yesterday I was talking with my brother and he said something that left me speechless. We were talking about human rights because I’ve been reading a bunch of material on U.S. foreign policy. I mentioned how the United States has never ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and how that means that the United States isn’t required to acknowledge the 30 human rights; Which Eleanor Roosevelt took to the United Nations after her husband’s death. In 75 years, no one in the Senate has seen fit to bring it to vote, and other decades-old treaties have not been ratified. So, I mentioned as it’s been of interest of late. To which he stated, “I don’t believe everyone should have human rights- people like: pedophiles and child rapists.” I have to admit there is a part of me that wants to- and does agree. It caused me to stop and think. I don’t believe those groups of people should have human rights… BUT I believe they lose those rights AFTER conviction in the court of law.

My brother and I faced the same abuser as children, mentioned in my other posts: The Beginning and Common Causes of Childhood Depression, He got it worse than I did. I don’t know why, but I think it had to do with easier excuses for “discipline”. “He needed to toughen up.” “Act Right”. I hid in my room reading and doing anything to stay there as much as possible, while my brother didn’t have that luxury. That trauma he and I faced, shaped us differently. As kids, we were protective over each other when it came to others, but we fought constantly. Full-blown beat each other half to death, then tell our parents on each other. Normalized sibling rivalry. As adults, we’re close and we don’t fight anymore (thank goodness) but we are vastly different. I think that stemmed from the toxic environment we went through and the lack of justice we received.

Back to the human rights issue. My brother doesn’t trust the system, but he respects it and the people who enforce it. Sounds like most Republicans, don’t trust the system, but respect the authority of the agents of it. I respect the people who work the system, however, I think it’s been broken for a while. I believe it needs to be reviewed and repaired. I am a firm believer in “innocent until proven guilty- in a court of law”. The legal process is fundamental in our system, yet so many people believe in “guilty until proven innocent”.

We have been conditioned to believe that a person’s value is relative to the profit they bring to their employer. While the world decided, in 1947, that a person’s value is their humanity.

Article 1. 

 All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

 Article 2. 

 Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms outlined in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, property, birth, or another status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made based on the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

 Article 3. 

 Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.

 Article 4. 

 No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

 Article 5. 

 No one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

 Article 6. 

 Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

 Article 7.

 All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and any incitement to such discrimination.

 Article 8. 

 Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

 Article 9. 

 No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile.

 Article 10. 

 Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and any criminal charge against him.

 Article 11. 

 (1) Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to the law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offense on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offense, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offense was committed.

 Article 12. 

 No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

 Article 13. 

 (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

 Article 14. 

 (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

 Article 15. 

 (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

 Article 16. 

 (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality, or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage, and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

 Article 17.

 

 (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

 Article 18. 

 Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.

 Article 19. 

 Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

 Article 20. 

 (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

 Article 21. 

 (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

 Article 22.

 Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

 Article 23. 

 (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work, and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

 Article 24. 

 Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

 Article 25. 

 (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

 Article 26. 

 (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

 Article 27. 

 (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary, or artistic production of which he is the author.

 Article 28.

 Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms outlined in this Declaration can be fully realized.

 Article 29.

 (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely to secure due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

 Article 30.

 Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

It’s not just the UDHR that we’re behind on. The Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child are two other treaties that the United States either never voted on or actively opposed. 

The rule of law is what made our country great, but our legendary promise to fight for freedoms and democracy is what gave us the responsibility to protect and adopt these rights. We should be able to help our neighbors without needing credit and praise. The very trauma that made my brother want to automatically take rights away, is the same trauma that made me realize we need to protect and help those that are helpless. My abuser was a sexist white supremacist, and for a while, as a child, I took on that same ideology. I made myself stop and look at where my words came from, and who I learned them from. I retrained my brain. I dissociated from the hate and started thinking for myself. Please, look back to where you learned your view of society. Was the person you learned it from happy? Were they loving and peaceful? How did they treat others? How did they teach their words? With violence or by example? Did they believe the next generation had to face the same struggles they did, or did they try to make it better for them? Be careful with what you say, and treat others how you want to be treated. Create a better world.