14 November 2016
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Children, young people, schools, community organizations, families and the government are invited to promote and protect the rights of children during Child Rights Education Week, which starts today and lasts until Nov. 20, the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This year’s theme is The Right to be Heard. The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, in co-operation with various youth organizations including Right to Play, UNICEF Canada and other advocates, created a national website dedicated to the week. The site offers educational resources for teachers, educators, parents and children for celebrating the rights of the child.
In addition, adults, young people and children are invited to record a short testimonial about the right to be heard or to promote a project related to the rights of children. Videos submitted will be published online. Some MLAs and MPs have already responded to the invitation. The campaign promoting the videos will continue until Dec. 13 to highlight the 25th anniversary of Canada’s ratification of the convention.
“This year, the week aims to highlight Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, protecting the right of children to be heard and to have their views taken into account when decisions are being made,” said Child and Youth Advocate Norman Bossé.
Several activities are planned, including one on Nov. 18 at 11:30 a.m. at the legislative assembly, where young participants in the first edition of Shaking the Movers will present their report on the environment and climate change to the advocate. This conference was organized by Carleton University’s Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children's Rights, the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, and community organizations. It allows young people to be heard on issues that affect them and to make recommendations to policy makers.
Staff from the office will also meet with young people and children in schools during the week to encourage them to have their voices heard. The team will support cultural activities such as the Battle of the Arts, which promotes the arts among young people. It will take place at 6 p.m. on Nov. 19, at École des Bâtisseurs, 715 Priestman St., Fredericton.
“Through education and raising the awareness of communities, children, youth and professionals, we aim to more fully implement children’s rights,” said Bossé. “To achieve that, it is important that children and young people can be heard.”
To commemorate the ratification of the convention, the launch of the 2016 State of the Child Report will take place on Dec. 13 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Fredericton. The report is dedicated to the health and mental health of children and youth and includes the 2016 update of the Child and Youth Rights and Well-being Snapshot, which is a statistical portrait to support decision making relating to children. Bossé will also deliver a speech on the state of the child entitled Defending the rights of children and youth in mental health services: 10 years of advocacy.