Friday, September 15, 2006

Homeschooling in Europe - problems

At the link is a story from earlier in the summer about homeschooling in Europe (h.t. Anna Venger). The article notes that families are required to assure compliance with he UN treaty on the Rights of the Child. This is a problem as applied.

Many conservative in the US have been concerned about the treaty and oppose ratification.

Many of my Human Rights conscious friends are embarrassed that the US has not ratified the treaty.

Even if a treaty is not ratified, some judges and international law experts try to claim it can apply as "customary international law" and become binding on the US without our approval. There are good arguments against this idea, but there are many high level educators and judges who believe in the strong version of customary international law - that if lots of countries say they do it, we have to do it too.

The one way to protect a country from the undesired affects of a treaty is to ratify the treaty WITH RESERVATIONS. The reservations expressly say what applications or provisions of the treaty the ratifying nation refuses to accept. This puts a refusal to make the treaty mean certain things right in the law of the treaty. Perhaps this could be done with the treaty on the Rights of the Child. There are however, still two problems. First, some international law wonks still want to constrain the meaning and role of reservations. Second, how can we trust the Senate of the US to put in the right reservations and protect the freedom to educate our Children in the Christian faith and to discipline our children in reasonable ways, both of which are potentially threatened under some interpretations of the UN treaty on the rights of the Child.


Benjamin Bush Jr. said...

Mr McConnell,

If The Senate can ratify the treaty "With Reservations," shouldn't an individual be able to do the same when compelled to show up in court?

Dean McConnell said...

No. Apples and oranges. When nations accept or reject all or part of treaties they are engaged in a lawful lawmaking process. When you go to court you are being judged by an already existing set of laws.

There is an analogy though. In the course of a legal action you can make binding stipulations to a court and then be bound by those as "the law of the case." If your opponent agrees to a set of stipulations and you agree to some and reject others that is sort of like a nation making reservations to a treaty. Assuming they are not contrary to a higher law, both are binding because promises should be kept.