Under the guise of advancing what the United Nations characterizes as “human rights,” the UN “Human Rights Committee” released a report urging U.K. authorities to prosecute parents who smack or spank their children — even when used as a disciplinary tool. The UN report continued, advocating that the government launch a tax-funded propaganda campaign against corporal punishment and parents who choose to use it in disciplining their children, highlighting the alleged “harmful effects.” A broad list of other demands — more abortion, more UN agreements, and more censorship, among others — was also provided by the UN’s “human rights” bureaucracy in its report on the United Kingdom.
It was not the first time that UN bureaucrats have claimed that spanking, smacking, and all forms of corporal punishment must be banned worldwide in favor of UN-approved parenting strategies, and it certainly will not be the last. In fact, a similar UN “human rights” report about the United States released last year called on the U.S. government to ignore the Constitution’s limits on federal power and pass legislation banning all corporal punishment of children across America — including mild spankings by parents in the home used as a disciplinary tool. Schools that use corporal punishment are also in the UN’s crosshairs.
Of course, the latest controversial anti-smacking “recommendations” aimed at the United Kingdom were met with widespread ridicule and derision. Even the rabidly pro-UN government in London distanced itself from the outlandish demands. “Our policy on smacking is clear,” a spokesperson for the U.K. government was quoted as saying in media reports. “We do not condone violence towards children. However, we do not wish to criminalize parents for issuing a mild smack.” High-profile commentators joked about "the UN on smack." Still, analysts said the UN was very serious in its efforts to criminalize traditional parenting while further usurping parental rights — and that this is just the beginning.
In its latest report on the United Kingdom, the UN committee, composed of 18 “experts” who come largely from totalitarian-ruled nations, was very clear about its agenda. “The Committee remains concerned that corporal punishment is still not fully outlawed in the home and certain educational and alternative care facilities in the United Kingdom and in almost all British Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories,” the report stated. “It is further concerned about the lack of explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in the home and the existing legal defenses of ‘reasonable punishment’ in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or ‘justifiable assault’ in Scotland.”
Not to fear, however, as the UN “experts” have the solution, too — or so they imagine. “The State party should take practical steps, including through legislative measures where appropriate, to put an end to corporal punishment in all settings, including the home, throughout United Kingdom and all Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, and repeal all existing legal defenses across the State party’s jurisdiction,” the UN report continued. “It should encourage non-violent forms of discipline as alternatives to corporal punishment, and conduct public information campaigns to raise awareness about its harmful effects.” In other words, launch a massive, tax-funded propaganda campaign to tell parents how the UN wants their children to be raised — and to demonize anyone who disagrees.
Critics, though, were outraged by the UN’s efforts to have the government further usurp authority over parental rights. “There is an important issue of parental freedom at stake here,” explained Andrea Williams, who leads the U.K. non-profit organization Christian Concern. “A blanket ban on smacking would be a damaging invasion of government into family life. The law already prohibits physical injury to children. The absence of discipline is detrimental to children’s wellbeing. We need to strike the right balance. As long as parents operate within the current law, they should be free to discipline their children in the way they believe is in their children’s best interest.”
Also lambasting the UN report was Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Louise Bours with the surging liberty-minded U.K. Independence Party. “How dare they try to interfere in our lives in this way? Parents should have the right to discipline their children for the youngsters' own sake, including a light smack if appropriate, but obviously not beating them, which is and must remain an offence,” Bours said. “But frankly it's rather rich coming from a panel which has representatives from countries with shocking human rights issues, such as Algeria and Uganda, that still need to do more to tackle Female Genital Mutilation in their countries.”
Bours also lambasted other planks in the UN’s “human rights” assault on the United Kingdom, including a UN attack on British plans for a Bill of Rights. In addition, she slammed the panel’s call for allowing prisoners to vote. “That again is a matter for our own government and not outsiders like the UN or European Court of Human Rights,” Bours continued, echoing widespread concerns heard around the world about the accelerating attacks on national sovereignty and self-government. “Prisoners have broken their contract with society by offending and must forfeit the right to vote.” Similar UN reports have also disparaged the United States and various state governments for stripping convicted criminals of voting privileges.
In the latest U.K. report, the UN also celebrated as “positive” the controversial decision to re-define — or un-define — the institution of marriage to include homosexual “marriages.” The document praised authorities for ratifying various UN agreements purporting to govern everything from family life to people with disabilities, but it demanded that more still be approved and implemented. With breathtaking audacity, the UN committee even directly attacked the rights of U.K. citizens, demanding that UN-approved notions of “human rights” take precedence in an upcoming U.K. Bill of Rights. The committee also called for even more censorship. “The State party [the U.K.] should strengthen its efforts to prevent and eradicate all acts of racism and xenophobia, including in the mass media and on the Internet,” the report said.
The UN “human rights” bureaucrats were also upset about the protections offered to the right to life — at least for children in Northern Ireland. “The Committee is concerned about the highly restricted circumstances in which termination of pregnancy [abortion] is permitted under the law in Northern Ireland, and about the severe criminal sanctions for unlawful abortion,” the report stated. “The State party should, as a matter of priority, amend its legislation on abortion in Northern Ireland with a view to providing for additional exceptions to the legal ban on abortion.” It was not immediately clear when, why, or how snuffing out the lives of innocent unborn children became a “human right” — especially one that trumps the actual right to life — but it is hardly the first time in recent memory that the UN has demanded an end to restrictions on abortion.
The latest furor over UN “human rights” demands against the United Kingdom follows a similar controversy that erupted last year. In early 2014, the bombastically titled “Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and on the right to non-discrimination in this context” (yes, that is a real UN position), a Brazilian socialist named Raquel Rolnik, issued a report critical of U.K. efforts to control welfare spending as a supposed “human rights” violation. To comply with what she described as “obligations” under “international law,” Rolnik said U.K. authorities and taxpayers would have to provide even bigger free houses with more extra rooms to welfare recipients.
Top British officials were not amused, ridiculing the UN attack as a “Marxist diatribe” and “utterly ridiculous.” “It is disappointing that the United Nations has allowed itself to be associated with a misleading Marxist diatribe,” U.K. Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said at the time, dismissing the findings as the ravings of an unhinged bureaucrat. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, meanwhile, seized on factual errors in the “utterly ridiculous” report, saying it was “biased, poorly researched and contains inaccuracies the author refused to correct even when they were pointed out to her.” The press had a field day ridiculing Rolnik, too — especially after the bureaucrat’s sister told the press that the UN “expert” was involved in witchcraft and had sacrificed an animal to Karl Marx. But her message was clear: National governments must bow to outlandish UN notions of “human rights” on everything, including the bloated welfare state.
None of this is happening in a vacuum. Much of the international assault on parental rights exemplified in the latest U.K. report traces back to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The radical treaty, which has not been ratified by the U.S. Senate, purports to mandate that all decisions be made in the “best interests” of the child. However, “best interests” is to be determined by international organizations, governments, politicians, dictators, and unelected bureaucrats rather than parents, sparking fierce opposition to the scheme in the United States and other nations. As if to illustrate how extreme the UN vision for children actually is, the Scottish government last year, citing the UN agreement, passed a law mandating a specific government overseer with vast powers be assigned to every single child born in Scotland.
Of course, the United Kingdom is hardly the only victim of the UN’s swarms of “human rights experts.” Freer Western nations have long been targeted by the UN for criticism and demands for draconian assaults on liberty under the guise of “human rights.” That is because UN “human rights” are practically the antithesis of traditional Western notions of God-given individual rights (freedom from coercion) that the U.S. government, for example, was created to protect. Under the UN vision, individuals have only revocable privileges that, according to Article 29 of the UN “Universal Declaration on Human Rights,” may in no case be exercised “contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.” American citizens and British subjects who value their liberties should tell the UN dictators club to pound sand.