More than one hundred people gathered for two days of learning about children’s rights in Canada. “It was good to come together,” said one participant, “to connect our own work with others and think about all rights for all children in Canada.” The conference brought together people from a wide range of ages, positions, and communities around a common goal: realizing the rights of every child in Canada. Improving implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child across Canada will benefit all children and Canada as a country.
Shared analysis lead to suggestions to move forward in a wide range of areas including:
- Informing children about their rights and scaling up good practices in youth participation to include more young people
- Children’s Rights in Child Welfare Systems
- Preventing all forms of violence against children
- Freedom from sexual exploitation and right to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information
- Children’s Advocates
Dialogues with government officials explored ways to make progress in the following areas:
- Preventing violence against children in Canada, as part of Canada’s commitment to be a Pathfinder Country in the global End Violence Against Children initiative
- Children’s rights in the developing national poverty reduction and child care strategies
- Children’s rights in the immigration and refugee system and equitable access to services for newcomer young people
- The benefits of informing children about their rights and ways to fulfill the obligation to inform every child in Canada about their rights
- The rights of young people in the criminal justice system and removing barriers in access to justice for young people
The conference is one step in a strategy to use the current review of children’s rights to make progress toward our common goal. One step will be responding IN CANADA to the official government report when it is released. It is now four months late and there has been no public input into the process. Another will be preparing a guide for those who want to use this process to advance children’s rights in their own work. To maintain momentum, the CCRC will share key points from the conference in our newsletter and blogs. Now is the time to spread the word and build a base of public support that prevents burial of the next report as unimportant.
The strongest common theme was taking action to ensure all children learn about their rights and how to exercise them. The CCRC is asking young people what they think would be the best ways to inform young people about their rights. Take a few minutes to tell us what you think.
Watch this space for updates on children’s rights in Canada.