Children’s Rights Day urged

Stepping into democratic self-reliance begins at birth, says advocate for day of recognition

Jennifer Blyth

Oak Bay News

For Canada and the world to be truly successful, we must recognize the inherent rights of children to have a say in their lives from a young age, suggests an Island man urging Canadians to declare Nov. 20 Rights of the Child Day.

“Graduated steps into democratic self-reliance must begin at birth and not be one giant leap at the age of majority,” says John McDonald, a former school teacher and school trustee now living in Duncan.

The initiative would recognize the anniversary of the United Nations’ adoption of Declaration of the Rights of the Child and raise awareness of the important, comprehensive document, creating potentially far-reaching effects.

“If kids knew what their rights are and what they’re not, it would be a better world. They would understand democracy,” he said.

The initiative’s roots date back to 1924, and the Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child, followed by the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the child adopted by the United Nations. Fast-forward to Nov. 20, 1989, and the Declaration of the Rights of the child was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations and ratified in Canada several years later.

McDonald broadly categorizes the Rights of the Child under three main headings:

• The Right to Survival – through the provision of adequate food, shelter, clean water and primary health care;   • The Right to Protection – from abuse, neglect and exploitation, including the right to special protection in times of war;

• The Right to Develop – in a safe environment, through the provision of formal education, constructive play, advanced health care and the opportunity to participate in the social, economic and religious life of their culture,  free from discrimination.

Essential to the initiative is introducing democracy at a young age as a way of raising democratically minded adults. “You can’t raise minors with no say into their lives,” McDonald says.

“We can’t raise our kids in an undemocratic household and school system then send them out on their own and say, ‘Now you need to live in a democracy,’” McDonald argues, suggesting that if children are going to learn about democracy, it needs to begin when they’re young.

People – including children – have a strong tendency to do and be what is expected of them, he says.

“Therefore the greatest danger to our society is the concept that young people are irresponsible, stupid, cannot think and are incapable of building the future that the present adults must live in. Well, you better have faith in our offspring for it is their world that we (adults) will have to live in,” he says, adding,“adults have not given us much to boast about in human development. Is it time to include children in future planning. Make Nov. 20 the Rights of the Child Day.”

 

Just Posted

Ucluelet Aquarium wraps up season with release day event

Residents help release charismatic critters on Dec. 7.

Tofino shops set to sparkle during weekend’s Jingle Into Christmas celebration

“It’s like a family reunion. It’s nice to see the locals’ faces.”

Child care sector feels the squeeze in Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District

There are five children for every licensed child care space in the ACRD

Surfrider Pacific Rim hopes unique wetsuit recycling program stays local to the Coast

“We really want to see someone locally or regionally take this on and use this material locally.”

Residents push back against renaming Ucluelet Secondary School

“We are just fine thanks, put the money into our children’s education.”

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Most Read