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

Increased rental construction boosts housing starts across Greater Victoria

Rest of Vancouver Island experiencing spillover effect from Greater Victoria

Bay Street Bridge construction begins today

Point Ellice Bridge will be closed to eastbound vehicle traffic until October

Some showers, high of 18 C for Tuesday

Plus a look ahead at your weekly forecast

Survey finds 15 per cent of Canadian cannabis users with a valid licence drive within two hours of using

Survey also finds middle-aged men are upping their usage following legalization

Mamma Mia! poised to be biggest Chemainus Theatre show ever

Plenty of buzz as Island dinner theatre schedules ABBA-fueled romp

New book from Island author details social history of the E&N railway

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River.

Should B.C. already be implementing province-wide fire bans?

A petition is calling for B.C. Wildfire Service to issue a ban to reduce risk of human caused wildfires

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several days, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Most Read