Canada urged to comply with UN resolution regarding children’s rights

Corinne’s Quest has renewed its plea for Canada to comply with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which it pledged to do in 1991.

The issue arose Monday because Canadian government representatives were at the United Nations to formally announce that Canada will endorse the UN’s Declaration of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was enacted in 2007. Canada initially opposed this declaration.

Corinne’s Quest, an organization dedicated to the repeal of Section 43 of the criminal code which permits hitting children, said the UN has repeatedly told Canada that it is out of compliance with the convention of children’s rights because of Section 43. Corinne’s Quest is a campaign under First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition.

“Hundreds of child-serving groups in Canada have been calling for the repeal of Section 43 for more than 25 years,” said Kathy Lynn, chair of Corinne’s Quest. “We find it appalling and frankly, embarrassing that a progressive country like Canada still has a law on its books which permits hitting children. Section 43 not only condones violence toward children, it also prescribes how children can be assaulted and offers a defence to those who do.

“This is an archaic, unfair law, it is an insult to the human rights of children, and Canada’s political leaders should be ashamed to show their faces at the United Nations with this law still on the books.” A total of 49 countries have prohibited all corporate punishment of children.

Lynn further pointed out that her organization’s website has a growing list of individuals and organizations who have signed a declaration opposing physical punishment of children. The list includes child-serving organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, the Mental Health Association, Red Cross, and many local Children’s Aid Societies, hospitals and school boards.