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Commentary: The U.S. neglects primary human rights for children

The U.S. report on defending our children is abysmal. We attempt them as adults. Child marriage is still taking place. So is corporal punishment and youngster labor.

The United States is the one U.N. member country that has not ratified the worldwide treaty on children’s rights. If our nation had been good to youngsters, this wouldn’t be such a giant deal. But it turns out we aren’t, and our state laws don’t assist. CebotariN/Shutterstock.com

The United States is the one United Nations member nation that has not ratified the international treaty on children’s rights. Most people might assume this isn’t such a big deal as a result of our country is nice to children. But it seems we aren’t, and our state legal guidelines don’t assist.

A new Human Rights Watch report card grades all 50 states on their legal guidelines associated to child marriage, child labor, juvenile justice and corporal punishment. We gave 20 states a failing F grade (including Maine), and 26 a “D.” Not a single state received a A or even a B. New Jersey, Ohio, Iowa and Minnesota were the one states to obtain a C grade. Mississippi, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Georgia and Washington state came out at the bottom of our rating. Maine was ranked 39.

Forty-three states still allow child marriage, with greater than a quarter-million youngsters, some as young as 10, married in the United States between 2000 and 2018. No state prohibits violence in disciplining children. Approximately 160,000 children are subjected to corporal punishment in schools annually, regardless of extensive analysis discovering that paddling children is ineffective in correcting their behavior, conversely resulting in increased child aggression.

Weak youngster labor laws enable kids as young as 12 to work 50 or 60 hours every week in agriculture, the most harmful industry within the United States for baby workers. Half of all states permit children beneath 18 to be sentenced to life in jail with out the potential of parole, and more than 50,000 children are tried in grownup courts annually, often leading to extreme and punitive prison sentences and higher recidivism rates.

All of those practices violate worldwide requirements, and several disproportionately have an result on youngsters of color and children with disabilities. For example, 62 p.c of these serving sentences of life without parole for offenses dedicated as children are Black, even though they make up only 14 % of the whole youth population in the United States. In some college districts, youngsters with disabilities are more than five occasions more prone to experience violent punishment than different kids.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, the first worldwide treaty on the rights of kids, was adopted by the United Nations in 1989. It addresses children’s rights to training, to well being, to an sufficient standard of living, to freedom of expression, safety from violence and exploitation and a broad array of different rights. Our failure to ratify the Convention and live up to its rules not only harms our kids, but in addition undermines our influence globally as a pacesetter on human rights.

Some states have taken recent action to enhance their protection of youngsters. Massachusetts banned child marriage this year, and Maryland improved its juvenile justice laws, raising their rankings on our scorecard.

To do right by its kids, the United States should ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. At the state stage, policymakers should take a hard take a look at the report card for his or her state and take motion to improve legal protections for kids. Neither state nor federal policymakers should tolerate legal guidelines that put kids at risk.

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