As celebrations around the world today marked the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Somalia announced that it would ratify the accord. The United States is now the lone country not backing the most widely supported international human rights treaty.
Of course, there’s a gaping discrepancy between word and deed; as the BBC reported: “Unicef, the UN’s children’s agency, welcomed the announcement and reminded the Somali government that ratifying the convention was a commitment to protect children’s rights.” But the symbolic value is significant, and as an American I find our stance a little embarrassing. If we weren’t signing because we’re concerned that the popularity of the treaty was watering down its significance, we would have an argument to make. But unless the U.S. is willing to make this more principled point heard loud and clear, why bother being the loner?