by Dennis L. Stuebing, Ph.D.
Every year at this time, as we celebrate National Child Day, we are reminded that Canada is party to the United Nations (UN) most widely ratified international human rights instrument, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). November 20th is set aside to acknowledge Canada’s commitment to children’s rights because both the CRC and the Declaration of the Rights of the Child were adopted by the UN on 20 November, albeit thirty years apart in 1989 and 1959 respectively. Over those thirty years, children’s rights shifted from moral acknowledgement to legal obligation that entitles children to protection, provision and participation.
Canada signed the CRC in May 1990 and subsequently ratified it in December 1991. Canada is also party to the Optional Protocol (OP) to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (2000) and the OP on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (2005) but has yet to ratify the OP on a communications procedure. The latter entered into force in 2014, and enables children to make claims against States on violations of their rights to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
November 20th is also Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), a day set aside to remember those who have been killed because of their transgender (trans) identity. The Trans Murder Monitoring Project (2020) has identified nine victims in Canada since 2009. While none of the nine Canadian victims were under the age of 18, we know that:
November 20th provides us an opportunity to reflect on the advances we’ve made to realize children’s rights. It also provides us with the opportunity to acknowledge what is yet to be done due to our failure to protect some children from the violence they experience based on their gender identity. The nexus between children’s rights and the violence experienced by transgender persons is not just a date on our calendars, rather it’s the indicator that our work is far from complete. All children – including trans children – are entitled to protection. And, all children should be able to grow up without the fear that they will face violence or even death as a result of their gender identity, sexual orientation, expression, or sex characteristics.
If you’re interested in commemorating those we’ve lost to trans-phobic hate and violence here are links to upcoming events across Canada:
If you’re interested in learning more about children’s rights or celebrating National Child Day, here are some upcoming events across Canada:
Children First Canada: https://nationalchildday.org/events/
Trans Murder Monitoring Project (2020). Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) Updates. Transrespect versus Transphobia (TVT) by TGEU. Retrieved from: https://transrespect.org/en/trans-murder-monitoring/tmm-resources/
Egale Canada (2017). ECHRT honours those passed and those working for a trans-inclusive future. Trans Day of Remembrance. Retrieved from: https://egale.ca/egale-in-action/trans-day-of-remembrance-3/
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