Children’s Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
It has been 30 years since Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the most widely ratified international human rights treaty in history. Many of its core principles are applicable in the family law context, and compel us to shift our approach to providing services to children and families, viewing children as rights-holders and not merely passive subjects of decision-making. While children have rights, parents in turn have responsibilities and obligations.
It is incumbent on family law professions to focus on the children’s right to freely express their views and preferences and to discuss ways to promote children’s meaningful participation in family law matters. Issues to consider include aspects of family law that engage children’s rights through child inclusive mediation or Voice of the Child report. Other aspects to consider include, such as issues of privacy and consent to be given by the children.