Sunday, May 11, 2008

Did Texas Violate The United Nations Convention On Genocide When They Rounded Up And Dispersed The FLDS Kids?

While visiting the Vanguard News Network Forum, I caught a post by 8Man that really grabbed my attention. 8Man suggested that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services' mass roundup of the Fundamentalist LDS kids and their dispersal to a number of group foster homes may be a violation of the United Nations Convention on Genocide.

Ordinarily, when one thinks of genocide, one thinks of mass slaughter. So when I checked the provisions of the United Nations Convention on Genocide, I was quite surprised at what I found:

Article 2

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

By forcibly tearing all the FLDS children away from their mothers and parceling them out to group foster homes without showing through due process that every one of them was actually at risk of abuse, one could make the case that the Texas DPFS violated Article 2e of the Convention. And since the United States is a signatory to the Convention, it could expose the state of Texas and the U.S. government to potential liability.

The problem is, as a May 10th Deseret News article explained, that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is presuming that all the FLDS children were equally at risk because they believe that the YFZ Ranch residents all lived as one big family and all have the same "dangerous" belief system. This is a rather grotesque extension of the common child welfare premise that when a victim of abuse is found inside a home, child welfare investigators have concerns for all of the children in that home. Furthermore, previous court rulings have determined that it isn't necessary to prove that a parent personally abused his or her own child in order to show that a child is in danger.

The practice of taking chidren away from parents was once prevalent in our relations with indigenous societies. American Indian kids would be taken to religious boarding schools or white homes, where, in many cases, they were discouraged from indulging in any indigenous cultural or linguistic expressions. This became a major problem in Canada, and is described in further detail on the Indian Residential School Survivors Society website. The same problem also occurred in Australia, to the point where many Aborigines are part of what is called the "lost generation" or "stolen generation". A list of 32 different impacts of this treatment can be found HERE; these include anything from low self-esteem to increased suicide rates.

The problems are attributable to the large cultural differences between the indigenous peoples and the dominant society. But there are similar cultural differences between the FLDS and the mainstream multicultural society. The kids have all been home-schooled and have been taught to be polite and to dress modestly. They have never been exposed to pop culture or our chaotic multicultural schools. So to suddenly force all these alien values and institutions upon the FLDS kids could overload them psychologically, having a genocidal effect.

So taking the kids away from their mothers could be an example of implementing a "cure" that might well be worse than the disease itself. If the Texas DFPS wants to avoid being held legally accountable under the standards of the United Nations Convention on Genocide, they must develop a plan to restore the kids to their mothers as soon as possible, announce the plan publicly, and then begin implementing the plan with all deliberate speed once they can affirmatively link the kids with their mothers. It would also be helpful if the fathers were to come out of hiding and present themselves in order to facilitate this process.

Visit the FLDS Truth website for information on the doctrine and practices of the FLDS, and the Captive FLDS Children website for the FLDS perspective on the impact of the raids upon their community. In the latest development, the FLDS have hand-delivered a ten-page letter to President George W. "Dubya" Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas appealing for his help. This has become even more urgent since the Texas DFPS has announced its intention to forcibly immunize the kids.

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