Children's Bill of Rights

Free swim offered during Universal Children’s Day, Nov. 20

Three Rupert organizations come together to sponsor Universal Children's Day event, with giveaways offered to early attendees

The future is in the kids’ hands here on the North Coast and three organizations are ensuring that message isn’t lost on the residents living here.

Universal Children’s Day, a day recognizing the rights of children and instituted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, is set for Sunday, Nov. 20,

The day honours the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989, and is observed worldwide.

Nov. 20 promotes a worldwide fraternity and understanding between children and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (the most widely ratified international human rights treaty) outlines children’s right to life, health, education and play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence, protected from discrimination, and to have their voices heard.

Here on the North Coast, three organizations are ensuring that children enjoy Universal Children’s Day with some splash-filled activities in a free children’s swim at the Earl Mah Aquatic Centre from 2 – 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Success by 6 North Coast, the Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia Prince Rupert branch and Prince Rupert Early Years Table have jointly sponsored the swim to honour the rights of children.

“To bring awareness to this, we’re also hoping to have giveaways for the first [approximately] 100 people and we really want to bring awareness to the Children’s Bill of Rights, signed by Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain and council in July [at Children’s Day in the Park],” said Kate Toye, regional coordinator for Success by 6 on Tuesday.

City council’s resolution, drafted on April 11, ensures that developments and people on the North Coast recognize children’s various needs are met, safe environments are created, sustainable living is promoted, a strong sense of self-worth and belonging is instilled, equal citizen recognition is instated, and children’s voices are heard and respected by local governments.

Toye, Coun. Blair Mirau and city planner Zeno Krekic attended the Cities Fit for Children Provincial Summit in Vernon last year to bring the proclamation to Prince Rupert.

Toye would also be happy to see School District 52 schools adopt some of the principles in the bill, and is thrilled at seeing Redesign Rupert involving children’s voices in its extensive consultation process.

“I would love to see the schools’ curriculum take this in and really share it at a school level, of what these rights mean to kids in our community … Redesign Rupert has really tried to do that when they’re encouraging all community voices to come together when talking about developing the park on McKay Street and involving the community regardless of age,” she said.

Toye also recommends for interested youth to get involved at their respective schools’ parent advisory committee (PAC) to help shape schools and their curriculum.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also offered his wishes for lost children’s voices.

“This year, I wish to emphasize the importance of ensuring that the commitments made by the international community to the world’s children are extended to a group of children who are often forgotten or overlooked; those deprived of their liberty,” he said.