Federal human rights watchdog calling on Canada’s children to “make noise” about their rights

November 22, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission

In a speech in Ottawa yesterday, the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), Marie-Claude Landry, delivered an important message to the young people of Canada: their voices matter.

At the “Raise the Bar: Children’s Rights in Canada” conference hosted by the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, the CHRC joined other human rights advocates, children’s rights organisations, researchers, and youth advocates to discuss critical topics impacting the rights of young Canadians.

In her keynote address, Chief Commissioner Landry spoke about how the rights of Canada’s children are “fundamental to the future of our country” – and that we all have a role to play to help empower our children to become human rights defenders, not tomorrow, but today.

Chief Commissioner Landry’s keynote address was essentially a call to action. She is inviting everyone in Canada, “to seek out the young people in our lives and tell them three things:

  • they all have the power to be positive forces of change in our country;
  • they have the right to be heard, the responsibility to speak up, and the power to make noise about what needs to be changed in our society; 
  • they are not alone, and that we are here to make sure their voices are heard, and met with action and change.”

This week’s conference falls during the week of National Child Day and World Children’s Day — an annual designated week that reminds everyone to keep focus on children’s rights. With the UN set to review Canada’s implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child next year, this week’s conference carries added weight. The discussions going on this week will influence many of the conversations that will take place over the upcoming year as Canada prepares for its UN review.  

Chief Commissioner Landry told the audience of advocates that they can count on the Canadian Human Rights Commission, as Canada’s human rights watchdog, to stand beside them and keep calling on Canada to uphold its pledge to protect the rights of children.

Quotes

“If our children learn now that they do have a role to play — and that their ideas matter — I believe there is no limit to what they can do. And I believe that when the time comes, they will be ready.”

— Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E., Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission

 “A thousand simple gestures can often create more change than one big one. It is often in the seemingly ordinary, everyday actions, where extraordinary acts of courage and social change can occur. It takes courage to stand beside the kid who is being bullied. It takes courage to call out a racist joke when you hear it. It takes courage to create those awkward moments that are often part of doing the right thing. But these everyday acts of courage — one by one — can create real change in the lives of people around them.”

— Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E., Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission

“Progress does not happen in isolation. No one has ever heard of a social movement that included just one person standing alone. Our young people need our support, to spur them on and give power to their voices.”

— Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E., Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission

 

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