Ever wonder why America has such a bullying problem? Well, it starts at the very top with our government. My name is Victoria Mendez and I am a 15 year old high school freshman. My brother, Daniel, is just one of the kind, smart, funny, wonderful kids that was driven to ending his life because his human rights were violated repeatedly. He died 3 years ago when he was only 16 - I was just 12 years old when I lost my only sibling to suicide. My world changed forever in the blink of an eye. My big brother was everything to me and was always there to make me laugh and give me guidance. However, little did I know, he was being tormented daily at school. His biggest crime was that he was too kind to fight back. He had sought the resource of school officials and counselors, and none of them had helped him. Finally, he just couldn't bear it anymore and resorted to death. There are hundreds of others like him that we hear about all of the time. He didn't deserve it. Every day now when I come home, he isn't there. I will never get any more advice from him, hear him laugh, or meet his wife and kids. I want to make sure to do everything I can so that no other little girl has to lose her big brother to something so inhumane and preventable.
Almost every single member nation of the United Nations has ratified and accepted the Convention of the Rights of the Child of 1989. Never before have so many countries ratified a human rights convention so quickly. Today the CRC is ratified by nearly every country in the world - everyone except for Somalia and the United States!
The CRC is an international treaty that recognizes basic human rights of kids. It is the most widely accepted human rights treaty of all the United Nations member states. Many countries have existing laws to protect kids but the reality is that many just do not enforce their standards. Just read the headlines to see if you think our kids have protection of human rights. Today, rights get all tangled up in our court systems and then it stops there, with no further oversight.
The CRC ensures that all kids under the age of eighteen - without discrimination of any sort - are protected from harassment; protected from physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect, maltreatment including sexual abuse or harassment; benefit from special protection measures and assistance; can develop their personalities, abilities and talents to their fullest potential; can grow up in an environment of happiness, love and understanding. All the nations are required to come before the U.N. in Geneva and report their findings and progress. The Committee reviews these reports and encourages countries to take special measures and to develop special institutions for the promotion and protection of children's rights. Everyone, that is, except Somalia and the United States. The United States government did not want to be held to this standard. Even President Obama has called it an "embarrassment" that we have not yet ratified the convention for our children.
Daniel and other victims of bullying were not guaranteed their basic human rights - the right to life, the right to survival, the right to develop to their fullest capacity, the right to protection against discrimination of all kinds, the right to live in a safe and healthy environment, and thus the bullying epidemic grows because our government in America refuses to be held to a standard. Almost all other governments have but ours has not and our kids keep dying. It is critical that we guarantee human rights for the American children. Please help protect our kids! It's easy. Please sign to petition our government to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. No more excuses. The kids in America deserve it.
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