OTTAWA, Nov. 1, 2011 /CNW/ - The Canadian Coalition for the Rights of
Children (CCRC) released a comprehensive analysis of Canada's
compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child today.
The report, "Right in Principle, Right in Practice," assesses how well
Canada respects the basic rights of children and makes recommendations
for major improvements. This report is independent of the official
report done by the Government of Canada. It was submitted to the UN
Committee on the Rights of the Child, to inform its third review of
Canada's implementation of children's rights in 2012.
Too many children face obstacles that prevent them from realizing their
full potential, according to this report, even though the basic needs
of most children in Canada are met. Canada needs to develop the full
potential of every child, says the report, in order to meet the
challenges of an aging population. We cannot afford to let adolescents
fall through the cracks of a fragmented support system, ignore the fact
that an estimated 25% of young children are not ready for school, or
tolerate the high rate of violence against children. Developing the
full potential of every child is central to children's rights. The
report asserts that giving higher priority to fulfilling the rights of
children is not only the right thing to do; it is also strategically
important for Canada's future.
The report shows that Canada can do much better. It cites numerous
international studies on children's well being that rank Canada below
average or near the bottom of comparable countries. For infant
mortality, Canada was 24th of 30 countries; 22nd for health and safety; and 20th for child poverty.
"Canada lacks a coherent policy framework for children," said Kathy
Vandergrift, Chair of the Coalition. "That needs to be fixed in
Canada. November 20 is National Child Day. We hope this report will
help Canadians focus on what needs to be done to improve Canada's poor
performance on children's rights."
The report recommends specific actions and systemic improvements. It
proposes immediate steps to improve the situation of the most
vulnerable children, such as closing gaps in child welfare systems,
equal access to education and child protection for Aboriginal children,
improved access to mental health services, and doing a child rights
assessment of proposed changes in youth justice.
To protect the rights of all children, the report calls for a National
Children's Commissioner, making the Convention part of Canadian law,
and better mechanisms to ensure that the best interests of children are
given high priority by all governments.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child provides a comprehensive
framework for children's policy that is missing at both the federal and
provincial levels of government. "Children deserve better than the
sporadic, reactive, and fragmented attention they receive by
governments today," said Vandergrift, "all Canadians, children and
adults, would benefit from a more coherent, consistent approach to
fulfilling the rights of children in Canada."
The full report and a summary of key points are available on the CCRC
website at www.rightsofchildren.ca.
SOURCE Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children
For further information:
Kathy Vandergrift, Chair, 613-820-0272 or firstname.lastname@example.org;
Tara Collins, PhD specializing in Children's Rights, member of the editorial team, at 613-567-0241.