Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children

Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children

April 26, 2007 14:04 ET

No Borders for the Rights of Children in Canada

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 26, 2007) - The Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC) today called on the Federal Government to respond quickly and positively to the report released by the Senate Human Rights Committee, entitled "Children: The Silenced Citizens."

The report provides a thick volume of evidence on how the rights of children fall through the cracks of federal-provincial jurisdictional disputes, departmental bureaucracies, and shifting political priorities. The Coalition agrees with the committee's assessment that Canada's children are paying the price for the failure to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child, more than fifteen years after it was adopted and ratified.

The urgency of the problem for Canada's children is clear from the range of specific issues addressed in the report, including:

- Access to housing, education, and health care for aboriginal children

- Ending violence against children, including bullying and corporal punishment

- Protecting the rights of unaccompanied and migrant children

- An immediate child poverty reduction strategy, with clear goals and timetables.

The Coalition, which brings together child rights organizations across the country, supports the call for national leadership to monitor compliance with Canada's commitments on the rights of children, the recommendation to establish an independent national Children's Commissioner, and most of the specific recommendations relating to vulnerable groups of children. "There are no more excuses," said Kathy Vandergrift, Chair of the Board of the Coalition, "it's time to act now for the sake of Canada's children. If human rights are a Canadian value, Canada has to clean up its act when it comes to the rights of children."

To make the Children's Commissioner effective, the Coalition proposes that the enabling legislation incorporate the Convention on the Rights of the Child into Canadian law, as called for in Article 4. In support of the call to ensure that children have a voice, the CCRC recommends the inclusion of an appeal mechanism that would give children an avenue with genuine weight in the monitoring process.

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