47) A Child is a Child is a Child
The Convention on the Rights of the Child requires governments to adopt laws, policies, and practices that protect the rights of children and enhance their healthy development. The Convention was adopted by the United Nations on November 20, 1989, signed by the ambassador to the UN on behalf of the United States in February, 1995, and has languished ever since—no US president has submitted the treaty to the Senate for its advice and consent. The US stands virtually alone in its failure to ratify the convention, objecting, among other things, to the prohibition against sentencing young people to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for crimes committed before the age of 18—the US is the only country in the world that still allows such sentencing. A tireless campaigner for children’s rights and the fair sentencing of youth, Xavier McElrath-Bey Co-Executive Director of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (CFSY) and co-founder of the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network (ICAN), joins me in conversation Under the Tree.