Jaffee Lobbies Washington Leaders for Child Protection Treaty

April 14, 2011

Pearl River, NY – Building on her efforts to strengthen children’s welfare, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) has issued a letter with wide support from fellow lawmakers calling on President Obama and the U. S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee to swiftly ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“Whenever a child’s most basic rights are being denied or abused anywhere, we are obligated as a nation to act,” said Assemblywoman Jaffee. “Our leaders must recognize our moral role in the world stand up for the rights of children both in and outside of our borders.”

Co-signed by 28 Assemblymembers and two state Senators, Jaffee’s letter urges both the President and Senate to approve the first legally binding international treaty to give universally recognized norms and standards for protecting and promoting children’s civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, and it has since been ratified by 193 member nations. However, the United States, while formally signing the Convention in 1995, has failed to ratify it.

Jaffee was first alerted to the stalled status of this Convention by a group of local and regional children’s rights activists, including some based in her Rockland County district. In response, Jaffee worked with these groups and individuals to draft the letter requesting urgent action on a measure integral to the safety, freedom, and opportunity of children everywhere, as well as in building support for this measure among her colleagues and the nation’s leadership in Washington.

One of the local advocates who reached out to Jaffee is Jane Brown, Executive Director of Child Care Resources of Rockland. “While the United States has some of the best programs and laws to protect our children, too many of them continue to face considerable hardships abroad,” Brown said. “There are many ways in which we can advocate for children, and this letter is one important step we can take. We cannot sit idly by and let another generation of children be exposed to such negative influences.”

Also active in pushing for this letter’s drafting was Meg Gardiner, Chair of the Campaign for U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. “The Campaign for U.S. Ratification of the CRC applauds Assemblywoman Jaffee and her colleagues for urging the President and the U.S. Senate to ratify this important treaty, which would reinforce our Nation’s global commitment to children and families, and provide us with a set of principles to help improve the well-being of children in our own country,” Gardiner said. “It is time for the United States to join the global community and ratify this crucially important treaty – for the sake of our own children and children worldwide.”