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

Maple Ridge’s indoor pool redo in final months

Structural work done, with target opening to be late summer

Police investigating body found in Maple Ridge park

Discovered early Friday near highway

Maple Ridge’s lake low with dry spell

Boat launch not open at Alouette Lake

Maple Ridge man to the rescue twice in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Maple Ridge magnetic hill defies the law of Newton

It is a stretch of road where cars roll uphill instead of down

VIDEO: Giants take a 1-0 playoff series lead

Vancouver beat Seattle 7-1 in game one of the best-of-seven Western Conference series in Langley

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

Six ‘distraction thefts’ in two days spark warning to seniors by Vancouver police

Distraction thefts are used to steal jewelry off the necks of unsuspecting women

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Most Read