Canada ratified the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991. The convention speaks to many children’s issues also faced by children in British Columbia, and stipulates that children have the right to be protected, the right to development and the right to give their feedback when it comes to decisions that affect their lives. Children, the convention says, have the right to a basic quality of life and as such are entitled to advocates on their behalf, which could, and often does, include lawyers.
Provinces and territories in Canada changed a number of laws dealing with children’s rights. As such, those deployed in armed conflicts and those children in the care of the government have access to advocates to help them when they have no one else. The convention has gone a long way in the area of children’s issues, yet there is still child poverty, neglect, abuse, homelessness and other issues adversely affecting kids. It is up to adults, the convention adamantly states, to shield children from these things and to work together to provide housing, clean water, food, education and services that can help children to grow into happy, healthy and productive adults.
Children need separate rights since they start their lives with greater vulnerability. Governmental actions or inactions can affect children either positively or adversely. Since they cannot make decisions regarding the issues that may affect them, it is important that they be given a voice through a set of rights.
Children in British Columbia have the right to have legal representation when needed. There are a number of children’s issues that can affect them. Having a compassionate, experienced lawyer on their side advocating for what is in their best interests is sometimes necessary.