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

Cyclist injured in Langley hit-and-run

Rider was taken to hospital

Phasing plans for Brookswood defeated

Council voted against staggering neighbourhood planning in Brookswood-Fernridge.

Vigil to eliminate violence on women

Annual vigil observes International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

LETTER: Canada should not be selling weapons abroad

A Langley man is critical of Canada for selling arms that are being used to kill civilians.

Langley author pens tribute to the men and women of Canada’s military for Remembrance Day

‘A soldier, a sailor and an airman … stood before the Pearly Gates’

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read