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On November 20, 1989, the General Assembly of the United Nations noted under the Declaration of the Rights of the Child that “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.” Asserting that a further articulation of those safeguards was necessary, the assembly ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (hereinafter “the Convention”), which came into force at the United Nations on September 2, 1990. The Convention specifically states that it does not take away from the rights stated in prior documents of the United Nations that deal with the protection of children.

All but two members of the United Nations have signed the Convention: the United States ...

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