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The Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC) is a network of Canadian organizations and individuals who promote respect for the rights of children. View this email in your browser
                                                                                                                                       November  20, 2019

 30 Years:  Progress for Children's Rights


Today we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and 30 years of work by the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC) to promote respect for children’s rights across Canada.  Recognizing children as persons with rights has made fundamental changes for the way children see themselves and the way children are viewed by society. They can no longer be treated as objects or just recipients of services; they are active participants in their own lives and in society, with the right to have their best interests and their views considered as they develop their full potential and contribute to society.
 
Thirty years of progress in Canada has made a difference in many areas of society, including some legislative improvements and changes in practice in health care, education, and the justice system. Thirty years of experience and evidence-based research shows that implementing children’s rights is beneficial for child development, for parents and care-givers, and for public policy.  International comparisons done by UNICEF show that children do better in countries that take implementation of their rights seriously.  

Canada adopted the Convention early, with commitments made by all political parties, but lags in implementation across the country.  “After 30 years,” said Kathy Vandergrift, Chair of the Coalition, “it is time to shift from treating the Convention as a nice, aspirational document for Africa and Asia to applying it in Canada as a coherent framework for policies that affect children.  Taking the Convention seriously would make our federalist system of government work better for children.”

Canada’s record on children’s rights is currently under review through the process established in the Convention.  The CCRC is leading efforts to make this process more productive for children in Canada.   “We encourage Canadians and all levels of government to use this opportunity to learn more about children’s rights,” said Vandergrift, “and improve implementation in areas where they have influence.”

High priorities for the Coalition include: equitable treatment for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit children; doing Child Rights Impact Assessments (CRIA) for all policies that affect children; making the Convention part of Canadian law; and establishing a Children’s Commission to monitor and report regularly on how well children’s rights are implemented in Canada.

For further information, contact: Kathy Vandergrift, Chair of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children: info@rights of children.ca. For information about the review and fact sheets about specific issues:  www.rightsofchildren.ca  
 

Reflections on 30 Years of Child Rights Advocacy

Read reflections by Cheryl Milne, a highly-respected children's rights lawyer and former Chair of the CCRC, and Dr. Tara Collins, who has combined academic excellence and community advocacy for many years. These are part of a series.  Find their reflections and others on this special page of the CCRC website.

We want to hear from you.  Your thoughts will help to inform next steps in advocacy work.  You can submit them or get more information by contacting info@rightsofchildren.ca.  

TIMELINES for REVIEW PROCESS

IMPORTANT NEWS!   We now know the timeline for the steps in the official review of how Canada implements children's rights.  Please work with these to make your plans to participate:
  • March 1, 2020:  Deadline for submission of your issue and suggestions as an alternative report on what is really happening for children in Canada, for use in Canada and UN. 
  • May, 2020:  The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will host a pre-session to gather input for the review of Canada. More detailed information later. 
  • Summer, 2020:  A List of Issues for Canada to address will be public. These come from our submissions. 
  • October, 2020:  Deadline for Canada to submit its official response to the list of issues. (Last time Canada's response was late - the CCRC will track it and keep you informed)
  •  December, 2020:  Deadline for additional information from civil-society on list of issues..
  • January 11-29. 2021: Official hearing before UN Committee. More details later
  • Spring, 2021: Report with recommendations for government action 
  • 2021-Next Review:  Follow-up and monitoring progress 
 
HOW CAN YOU USE THIS PROCESS FOR YOUR GOALS?  Consider the following steps:
  1.  Name the significant issues in your experience or work that relate to children’s rights.
  2.  Consider what evidence you might have to contribute -  to describe the issue and/or suggest actions that would better respect children’s rights.
  3. Tune in to webinar to find out how process works, check CCRC website for related resources, and contact us if you need more information. Detail on webinar coming soon. 
  4. Plan to submit a short analysis of your issue or area of expertise, engage young people in your circle, and use your work for advocacy in Canada in parallel with the review process.
  5. Use the report back to Canada to support your own and collective advocacy until children’s rights are implemented in Canada.
 HOW WILL THE CCRC SUPPORT YOU?   We will provide:
  •  Updates on the process and resources to use in your own work
  •  Webinar on the process with Child Rights Connect, experts in Geneva
  •   Fact-sheets and analysis by others for your use on the CCRC website
  •   Contact Persons for assistance in using this process to advance your goals
  •   CCRC alternative report on systemic issues will  link the work of all groups on specific issues and address general issues that affect everyone. 
  • Follow-up to recommendations to Canada through advocacy and public information
     

                   Review Project: Special Donations  

Can you consider a special donation to achieve the CCRC goal for the review process - real change for children in Canada? All donations will be used for public awareness and more participation in Canada.   

Plans include regional gatherings to focus on the situation of children in different provinces;  sharing information between different groups and different aspects of children's rights; commentary on the official process for groups who can't go to Geneva; and follow-up on the report to get action by governments.

You can donate safely through the website and receive a charitable receipt for tax purposes.   
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