November 20, 2019
Today we celebrate National Child Day, a day that has been celebrated across Canada since 1993 to commemorate the United Nations’ adoption of two documents centered on children’s rights the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (the UNCRC) and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
The UNCRC, a human rights treaty that helped transform children’s lives around the world, has 54 articles that cover all aspects of a child’s life and sets out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all children everywhere are entitled. Canada ratified the convention on December 13, 1991 and since then a number of laws, policies and practices have advanced children’s rights to protection, development and participation in decisions affecting their lives.
By signing this agreement, Convention countries agreed that governments and all adults have the responsibility to protect and ensure the healthy development of all children. Every child has the right to reach their full potential by having access to education, health care, participate in society, have access to information and much more.
In our Canadian Companion to UNICEF Report Card 14, Oh Canada! Our Kids Deserve Better, we show that Canada does comparatively well in some aspects of child and youth well-being and lags behind in others, ranking 25th out of 41 countries. We bust some myths about what it’s like to grow up in Canada: the data reveal that we are not as safe, clean and healthy as some believe.
30 years ago, world leaders made history by adopting the UNCRC. Much progress has been made however there remains much to do. Today we celebrate all children and re-commit to advocating and promoting the rights of all children.