We are all aware that children have rights.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) requires organisations and governments to work towards what is in the best interests of each child and include children in the decisions that affect them. The UNCRC is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, reflecting the international recognition of the importance of child rights.
All of us have a responsibility to promote and advocate the rights of children. This responsibility extends from promoting rights-based thinking in the day-to-day events of children and young people lives, to requiring the transparent application of child rights frameworks in formal policy and decision making.
We have seen the impacts of past decision that have failed to consider the rights of children and young people – I note particularly, the plight of the Stolen Generations and the reverberations that those events continue to have in the lives of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
As we await the creation of the Queensland Human Rights Commission, it’s a good time now to take pause and consider the ways we assess the impact of policy options on the interests of children. As Principal Commissioner, I have a responsibility to provide advice on legislation, policy and practice in the best interest of children. That is why the QFCC is exploring ways to support government and broader sectors through consistent tools and resources that promote the rights of children and young people in Queensland.
As a first step, we need to commit to having the conversation about rights. Young people have told the QFCC that professionals need to learn to talk to children about their rights in a way that they can understand. I encourage you to refresh your understanding of the rights afforded to children and have child friendly information accessible to the young people you work with.
Together, we can help place the rights of children and young people at the centre of policy development and decision-making in Queensland.