Nov. 20, 2018
FREDERICTON (GNB) – As part of the Child Rights Education Week, the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate released its tenth State of the Child Report today at an annual breakfast fundraiser hosted by NB Champions for Child Rights Inc.
The report contains an overview of some of the serious challenges facing New Brunswick youth, which includes: discrimination, mental health, poverty, and declining educational engagement.
“This year there is a special emphasis on the child’s right to preserve their identity, and the right of minority and indigenous children to enjoy their culture, to practice their faith and to speak their own language,” said Child, Youth and Senior’s Advocate Norman Bossé.
The report, which focuses on Articles 8 and 30 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, contains more than 200 statistics presented in a Child Rights Indicators Framework. This data is part of the information the provincial government needs to ensure it is helping all young people, and especially the most disadvantaged.
“According to this data, children and youth from our province face numerous challenges,” said Bossé. “For example, the province has not done nearly enough to ensure the preservation of indigenous cultures. First Nations languages are imperilled to the point of crisis. I call upon the government to act immediately with First Nations leaders to preserve New Brunswick’s rich indigenous linguistic heritage.”
Bossé also invited the government to expand opportunities for immigrant youth to meaningfully participate in schools and communities and to invest more in child rights data monitoring.
Some of the alarming findings revealed in the report include:
• high levels of social exclusion reported by New Brunswick youth;
• half of New Brunswick youth say they have been victims of bullying;
• widely varying rates of child immunization across provincial health zones;
• a disproportionately high charge rate for child pornography offenses; and
• low levels of adequate sleep.
“Despite these findings, I am optimistic that the province can continue to build on the improvements it has made in upholding children’s rights,” said Bossé.
The Child Rights Education Week in Canada is held from Nov. 19 to 25. This annual week aims to celebrate and promote the rights of children and youth.