THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT ON U.S. DECISION TO SIGN U.N. CONVENTION ON RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
President Clinton has decided that the United States will sign the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention will be signed next week by the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright.
The announcement was made by the First Lady in remarks delivered today at James Grant's Memorial Service. James Grant, the former executive director for the United Nations Children's Fund, spent a lifetime working for children and was a tireless advocate on behalf of the Convention.
"Nobody fought harder than Jim for this Convention and its noble cause -- to promote the well-being and protect the basic rights of children throughout the world," the First Lady said. "I know how happy and proud he would have been to see our country add its name to the Convention. We owe it to him and to the children to whom he dedicated his life."
The Convention has been described by Pope John Paul II as embodying "fundamental values which are at the root of upright, orderly social life," most prominently of all, the need to afford special protection to children and the central role of the family. To date, the Convention has been either signed or joined by over 175 countries, including all major industrialized countries. It will be signed next week by Madeleine Albright, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
When he sends the Convention to the Senate to seek advice and consent for ratification, President Clinton will ask for a number of reservations and understandings. In particular, they will protect the rights of the various states under the nation's federal system of government and maintain the country's ability to use existing tools of the criminal justice system in appropriate cases. The Convention will not serve as a basis for litigation in domestic courts.