Unicef Canada: Federal government must respect First Nation children’s right to a childhood
TORONTO, 21 November 2019 – UNICEF Canada congratulates the new members of Cabinet on their first day of business for Canada’s 43rd Parliament. As a leading organization for children and youth, UNICEF Canada reminds you — and all officials in the Government of Canada — that you play a powerful role shaping the lives of children and youth. Almost every decision you make will affect them.
As a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Canada has a duty to prioritize their rights and interests. The Convention provides a critical framework for ensuring the fundamental human rights of every child. UNICEF — the only organization named in the Convention — has a responsibility to speak out and defend children’s rights everywhere, including Canada.
On your first day as Cabinet Ministers, we urge you to demonstrate that fairness and justice for children and youth will be your priority. As a matter of urgency, we ask you to rescind the previous request made by the Government of Canada for a judicial review of the September 2019 ruling of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) and a stay of the CHRT order for compensation for First Nations families and children affected by Canada’s discriminatory child welfare policies and practices.
Justice is a matter of fairness and remedy, above all else. The harm suffered over many years by First Nations children, families and communities can only be partially remedied by the compensation ordered by the CHRT, but it is a remedy that can help them reach for a positive future and ensure that future generations will not endure similar harm. Please work with the other parties on developing a responsible compensation approach to help restore and foster some of the rights denied to the affected children and their families, including education, treatment, family and cultural connection and dignity. You must act now. A judicial review and stay will further delay the rights and well-being of some of Canada’s most vulnerable and subordinate justice to lesser considerations. Please show these children today that they are at the top of your priorities.
Children everywhere have the right to a childhood.
About UNICEF Canada’s One Youth
From 25th to 1st place, UNICEF Canada’s One Youth is working to make Canada the best place in the world to grow up in. As the global UN agency for kids, UNICEF has worked to improve conditions for every child around the world for more than 70 years, and has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization. UNICEF Canada’s One Youth brings that work to Canada, by building the new gold standard for measuring child well-being, and developing and testing innovative solutions to the challenges they face. We are calling on Canadians to take action and do better for children and youth.
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations. For more information about UNICEF Canada’s One Youth, please visit http://www.oneyouthcanada.ca. For updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
UNICEF is the world’s leading humanitarian organization focused on children. We defend the right to childhood so children everywhere grow up safe, happy and healthy and able to reach their potential. UNICEF works in the most challenging areas to provide protection, healthcare and immunizations, education, safe water and sanitation and nutrition. As part of the United Nations, our unrivaled reach spans more than 190 countries and territories, ensuring we are on the ground to help the most disadvantaged children. While part of the UN system, UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations to finance our live-saving work. Please visit unicef.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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Communications Manager, UNICEF Canada
Tel./Tél.: +1 416 482 4444 ext/poste 8866 | +1 647 500 4230