The following is a Guest Post by Kathy Vandergrift, Chair, Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children:
While Canada’s Prime Minister was in China promoting trade and raising human rights issues in China, I was in Geneva to inform the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about major gaps in the implementation of children’s rights in Canada. Is Canada a violator of children’s rights? Most people think of less developed countries as places where children’s rights are violated – not in Canada. Surely not as bad as China – not bad enough to go to the UN.
Human rights treaties apply to all countries alike. That is one of their benefits. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, for example, incorporates the principle of progressive realization. Nations who ratify the treaty are obligated to improve the conditions for children, based on available resources – and not slip backward. In several areas, conditions for children are not progressing in Canada. Evidence of inequitable treatment of children is a concern in Canada as much as in China.