By Rhonda Massad
November 20 marked the 25th anniversary of the United Nation’s adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. For the first time the city of Laval gathered in the streets to walk in solidarity to celebrate the Universal Day of the Child and raise UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities flag.
According to Aline Dib, Municipal councillor for Saint-Martin the city of Laval received accreditation from UNICEF on May 24, 2014. This was not the first walk in the city, however, it was the first walk where the city walked in solidarity with residents for the children.
“The goal of the walk was to familiarize citizens throughout the city of the rights of children,” Dib told The Suburban in an interview, “children are the future of the city, taking care of them today will allow them to take care of us tomorrow.”
Laval’s participation in the global UNICEF Child Friendly Cities initiative brings the governance processes of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to the municipal level. UNICEF Child Friendly Cities have strategies for children, regular reports on the state of the city’s children, independent advocates for children, opportunities to listen to children’s views and formulate policies and services with the best interests of children in mind.
Laval Mayor Marc Demers and several elected officials were joined by Carrefour action municipale et famille (CAMF), la Maison des enfants Le Dauphin, le CPE La Relève, staff and students from St. Norbert, Les Quatre-Vents, Monseigneur-Laval elementary schools as well as Laurier Senior High School and Laval Liberty High School.
As stated by the United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his 2014 address:
“The one thing all children have in common is their rights. Every child has the right to survive and thrive, to be educated, to be free from violence and abuse, to participate and to be heard.
While accountability for the rights enshrined in the Convention lies with governments, we all have a common responsibility to uphold and protect those rights, which are fundamental to the strength of our societies. Together, let us stand up for the rights of children everywhere, for a more just and equitable world, and for a brighter future for all.”
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