Children’s Organizations urge Canada to act on the recommendations received from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
For Immediate Release
Toronto, June 9, 2022 – In response to Canada’s appearance before the Committee on the Rights of the Child on May 17 & 18, 2022, the UN Committee today released their Concluding Observations. The Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC) calls on the Canadian government to take concrete actions to address the many ways that children’s rights continue to be neglected, especially where Indigenous and racialized children, children in poverty, and children with disabilities are concerned. Furthermore, the CCRC calls on Canada to announce, as a leader on Ending Violence Against Children, that it will take action on corporal punishment as a show of good faith to implement all the recommendations.
Canada has a duty to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), hailed as one of the most important international human rights instruments that Canada has ratified in the last thirty years. Canada has failed to live up to its international obligations to children due to the lack of coherent and comprehensive policy framework in place, and the omission of children’s rights from proposed legislation and policy documents that come before cabinets and legislatures. Government departments, including child protective services, human rights commissions and school boards, often neglect to integrate children’s rights in their services and programs, resulting in uneven and deficient protection of children at many levels.
The main message from the UN Committee to Canada is that there is work to do. The Committee specifically noted that it wanted to draw the State party’s attention to the recommendations concerning the following areas, in respect of which urgent measures must be taken: independent monitoring (para. 13), non-discrimination (para. 18), the right to life, survival and development (para. 21), abuse and neglect (para. 27), children deprived of a family environment (para. 32) and standard of living (para. 39). They also noted that Canada should develop and implement a national strategy for the prevention of all forms of violence against all children, and allocate the necessary resources to this strategy and ensure that there is a monitoring mechanism
Here are the suggestions from the Committee about these particular issues:
- Independent monitoring:
- Establishing an appropriate body at a high inter-ministerial level, or strengthening the interdepartmental working group on children’s rights within the federal government, and providing it with a clear mandate and sufficient authority to coordinate all activities related to the implementation of the Convention at cross-sectoral, national, regional and local levels.
- Ending structural discrimination against children belonging to Indigenous groups and African-Canadian children and addressing disparities in access to services by all children;
- Strengthening measures to investigate and provide justice to families of victims of murder and disappearances and survivors of residential schools across Canada;
- Implementing the National Inquiry’s calls for justice with the meaningful participation of Indigenous girls
- Family environment:
- Strengthening its support provided to families in vulnerable situations, in particular families living in poverty, in order to prevent separation of children from their families
- Abuse and neglect
- Developing and implementing a national strategy for the prevention of all forms of violence against all children, and allocating the necessary resources to this strategy
- Repealing section 43 of the Criminal Code, which would result in corporal punishment finally being eliminated.
- Standard of living:
- Ensuring that all children in Canada can realize an adequate standard of living
- Making sure that all First Nations reserves have clean drinking water
- Ensuring that all children and their families living in poverty receive adequate financial support and free, accessible services without discrimination
- Strengthening measures, including time-lines and priorities to achieve its targets to end homelessness of children and to progressively guarantee all children from low-income families stable access to adequate and affordable long-term housing.
To view the Concluding Observations, see here: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CRC/Shared%20Documents/CAN/CRC_C_CAN_CO_5-6_48911_E.pdf
Information: Kate Butler
Chair & President, Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children: email@example.com