House Democrats introduced a resolution Friday calling on Congress to pass a Children’s Bill of Rights.
The framework, unveiled by Reps. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Karen BassKaren Ruth BassDemocratic retirements could make a tough midterm year even worse First senator formally endorses Bass in LA mayoral bid Bass receives endorsement from EMILY's List MORE (D-Calif.), has 22 broad categories that include the right to a safe and healthy environment — including in homes, schools and communities; the right to remain with a parent, legal guardian or caregiver except when authorities determine separation is in the best interest of the child; the right to a safe learning environment; and the right to be free from bullying.
“This is not controversial stuff,” Gutiérrez said at a press conference with students from D.C.-area public schools. “It’s basic human rights for children.”
He said the United States now stands alone as the only nation that has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international human rights treaty to protect children.
“Somalia and South Sudan recently did, leaving us alone, and I think that’s an embarrassment,” he said.
The resolution says it is the sense of the House of Representatives that every child is entitled to physical well-being, social and emotional well-being, and educational and life skills.
“One right in the resolution that I am particularly proud of says children — our children, my children — have the right to have parents, elected officials and other adults consider the effects that their decision will have on the child’s care and community,” he said. “It is so basic that it is a shame we need a resolution to remind ourselves of what is a right.”
Chu said all children, no matter who their parents are or where their parents are from, deserve a healthy and safe environment in which to grow up.
“Whether children are fleeing war in Syria or gangs in Central America, we must treat them like our own children and not let them live in a life of violence,” she said. “Children should be welcomed not imprisoned, forced to separate from their families, or criminalized for seeking safety in America.”