TORONTO, March 5, 2018 /CNW/ - A multi-stakeholder working group of governments, companies and civil society joined forces today to release the Child Rights and Security Handbook, a companion to the Child Rights and Security Checklist released in March 2017. This companion guide will help governments and companies improve the protection of children's rights within security arrangements and reduce security-related human rights abuses of children and young people, particularly at and around mining, oil and gas operations sites overseas.
UNICEF Canada welcomes the collaboration of Canadian mining companies and the Government of Canada in developing the Handbook, demonstrating Canadian leadership in contributing to gender-responsive peace and security, as well as promoting responsible business conduct for Canadian companies doing business abroad.
"Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of physical security arrangements. Security providers, be they public or private, have a responsibility to respect and protect children's rights, and to do so, they need to have a full understanding of how their operations affect the rights and well-being of young people," said David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. "The Checklist and Handbook are great examples of companies, governments and civil society working together to address key issues to improve the well-being of children around the world."
Security-related incidents can have significant negative impacts on children and young people. The implications may be particularly acute for girls and young women who experience an elevated risk of gender-based violence.
"It is a privilege to be associated with UNICEF and their partners on the collaborative approach they undertook to deliver something so meaningful and impactful. The collaboration has produced not only the handbook but sets a new bar for dignity, respect and the human rights of the most vulnerable," said the Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade.
Key leaders from government, the business sector and civil society attended the launch in Toronto, where Lieutenant-General (ret.) Roméo Dallaire and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development Celina Caesar-Chavannes spoke on child rights and security issues.
"Improving the well-being of children around the world requires robust and holistic approaches. This means we have to be prepared to work with security sector actors, multi-national business leaders, humanitarians and local populations collectively. The Dallaire Initiative has always recognized the importance of effective training for public security sector actors to improve their interactions with children in armed conflict, however it is also important that private security sector actors understand their responsibilities towards children and communities," said Lt. Gen (ret.) Romeo Dallaire.
"The security risks to children and young people are varied, significant and something that we feel must be proactively addressed. It will take a joint effort of business, civil society, and government to address those risks, with tools like the Checklist and Handbook," added Jonathan Drimmer, Vice-President of Barrick Gold.
The Checklist and Handbook build on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Children's Rights and Business Principles.
The Child Rights and Security Checklist can be downloaded here.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca. For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.
SOURCE UNICEF Canada
For further information: To arrange interviews or for more information please contact: Stefanie Carmichael, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8866, [email protected]