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

Body found after SUV found fully engulfed in flames in Abbotsford field

Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has been called in

PHOTOS: West Coast Christmas Show and Artisan Market at Tradex

Over the past 11 years the show has been attended by over 175,000 visitors

SARA for Women names new executive director

Jennifer Breakspear accepts position after two months as interim ED

The Debaters take on the holidays in live show

Hit CBC Radio show comes to Abbotsford Arts Centre on Nov. 22

Advocate for the homeless receives UFV’s Young Distinguished Alumni Award

Jesse Wegenast of Chilliwack recognized for extensive community work in Abbotsford

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

VIDEO: Giants toppled by visiting Hurricanes

Sunday afternoon play at Langley Events Centre saw a team from Lethbridge defeat Vancouver, 6-0

Security camera records hatchet attack on Langley store owner

Target escaped uninjured, but was ‘upset’ by incident

PHOTOS: Snoozing seal pup captures attention at White Rock Pier

Dozens of seals spent the day at White Rock’s iconic structure

VIDEO: Collision in Surrey breaks axle off SUV

Two people were reportedly sent to hospital

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Most Read