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July 18, 2016

Is it time to leave the United Nations?

Heard about Brexit? Is it time to Talk Amexit?

Andrew Mullins, Deputy Director
Erin Reichard, Intern
Federal Relations


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Brexit fever has officially hopped the pond. Less than one week after the United Kingdom’s historic referendum for withdrawal from the European Union, the United States has been buzzing with renewed interest for an “Amexit”—an American exit from the United Nations.


The idea of American withdrawal from the United Nations is not new to Congress; the American Sovereignty Restoration Act was first introduced in 1997. However, June 2016’s Brexit brought conversations about American withdrawal from the United Nations back to the forefront in the form of a new bill sponsored by Representatives Mike Rogers (AL), Thomas Massie (KY), Jimmy Duncan (TN), Lynn Westmoreland (GA), and Tim Huelskamp (KS).

Why UN Treaties are Harmful

Home School Legal Defense Association has long been concerned about the UN’s domestic treaties that threaten to undermine homeschooling freedom and parental rights. In addition to mandating the complete withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations, the American Sovereignty Restoration Act would sever American commitments to UN treaties. This would protect families from the threat of far-reaching international domestic policy mandates.

Fighting against the ratification of dangerous treaties like the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has long been a major legislative goal of HSLDA. Drafted by committees of unelected bureaucrats, these treaties are legally binding once signed by the U.S. president and ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. After ratification (under Article II of the U.S. Constitution), these treaties become the law of the land (under Article VI of the Constitution). In addition, international law and the treaties themselves would require UN officials to periodically review U.S. law to ensure that it complies with the treaty.

United States’ participation in UN domestic policy has become increasingly dangerous to homeschool freedom in recent years. The majority of the domestic measures advocated by the UN would—if ever adopted by the United States—establish top-down bureaucracy and government influence in every aspect of society and daily life—ranging from parenting children with disabilities to how and what parents can teach their kids.

United Nations delegations are not elected officials, but selected ambassadors. Our representative government is intended to give everyone a voice in the political process, but the UN believes that it has the power to make decisions without any obligation to American citizenry. This means that if our nation ever ratified one of these dangerous UN treaties, UN bureaucrats would create policies that override existing state laws.

Protecting American Sovereignty

HSLDA will always stand against laws and legislation that threaten parental rights and homeschool freedom. In terms of United Nations measures, HSLDA has stood against three dangerous treaties in recent years.

1) United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). CRC has been signed by the U.S. but not ratified by the Senate, meaning it is not yet enforceable law in the U.S. Among other provisions, CRC would make it the government’s job to review parental decision-making, ban the practice of spanking, and allow children access to reproductive health information without parental consent.

2) United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). While this treaty is intended to protect persons with disabilities, it contains multiple provisions that violate parental rights and give the government unprecedented control over families of children with special needs. Among other things, CRPD gives governments the authority to decide the best interests of children with disabilities, requires registering children with disabilities at birth, and could be used to justify federal abortion funding. This treaty was narrowly rejected by the Senate in 2012.

3) United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This treaty has provisions that outlaw sex and gender stereotyping in all levels and forms of education, debasing traditional conceptions of the family. It prohibits teaching any differences between gender roles, and could give Congress the power to legislate what homeschool families teach. This treaty has also not been ratified by the Senate.

For the American citizen, many of these United Nations treaties are redundant. American law already protects children and persons with disabilities and bans sex discrimination in public roles. As they stand now, these treaties would only add an extra layer of international bureaucracy, costing the American taxpayer an estimated three billion dollars and threatening homeschool freedom. This means that American dollars would be funding a bureaucratic monolith that subjugates American law to the extra-legislative wiles of foreign governments.

The United Nations was formed to prevent war and provide aid to struggling countries. Today, the United Nations is being used to create legally binding domestic treaties without transparency or accountability to voters.

The American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2015 is not a permanent solution to global violations of family and parental rights. However, United States’ withdrawal from the United Nations will signify a major step toward protecting families from harmful domestic treaties, and it will place lawmaking back into the hands of leaders held accountable by voters.