Will UN Treaties Become a Hot Topic in the Presidential Race?

Few politicians are interested in making obscure UN treaties a political talking point. Nevertheless, the Republican and Democratic parties stand at polar opposites on the question of whether or not the United States should ratify new UN treaties, particularly human rights treaties.

The platform adopted at the Republican National Convention last month specifically names four UN treaties whose ratification it opposes because their “long-range impact on the American family is ominous or unclear”. These treaties are the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and the Arms Trade Treaty.

The Republicans also warn against problems with the United Nations system, denouncing a corrupt UN bureaucracy “in dire need of reform” as well as the UNFPA’s “shameful record of collaboration with China’s program of compulsory abortion.” In addition, the Republican platform pledges that a Republican president would reinstate the Mexico City policy banning federal funding of international groups that provide or promote abortions.

The platform adopted at the Democratic Convention is entirely favorable to the United Nations system, taking credit for the Obama administration restoring “America’s leadership at the UN.”

They insist the United States ratify CEDAW on the basis of “ensuring full equality for women,” and under the understanding that “women’s rights are civil rights.” The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention on the Rights of the Child are not mentioned in the current platform.

The polarized positions of the two parties on the ratification of these treaties reflect their domestic policies with respect to human life and the family.

Carol Tobias, President of National Right to Life, observed that the Republican Party has once again adopted a “strong pro-life platform” and has pro-life language “woven throughout the platform.” Republicans have adopted a pro-life position in their platform since 1976.

The Democrats rely heavily on the vote of pro-abortion Americans to win President Obama a second term. Accordingly, their platform re-affirms that it “strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade,” “safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay,” as well as opposes “any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”

The Republican platform strongly favors traditional marriage, but the Democratic platform is for the creation of special marriage rights for homosexuals.

The policies embraced by the Democrats and the Obama administration are closely in line with the directives and interpretations of the unelected international experts charged with monitoring the implementation of UN treaties that the Democratic Party would have the U.S. Senate ratify. These UN experts routinely tell countries they must change their laws to allow unrestricted abortion and to recognize special rights for homosexuals.

It is unlikely that any American voter will decide their vote based on UN treaties but many will decide based on the underlying issues.

This article is courtesy the "Friday Fax" of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM).