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Am The Child
If... Possibilities For Our Children, Our World
A Dad And Raising A Daughter
Self-Esteem In Teens: Working Together To Find Community Solutions
At The Crossroads: A Path To Sanity and Sustainability
the Recent White House Revelations, of Matters, Most Delicate
of Kindness, Love & Grace
(The UNs Convention . . . )
I am an effective practitioner. Many, if not most, of the kids and families I work with gain a measure of peace and healing from my relationship with them. But for a society to function well takes more than effective individuals. Functioning social systems are required as well. The perspective I have gained from my position on the front line has helped me to realize that, in regard to children, our society is missing something vital systemically. Consequently, the impact I want to have on the larger picture of what is possible for our world is diminished.
This awareness drew me to part-time graduate school at the University of Victoria four years ago. While there, I took a course on a United Nations human rights document for the worlds children, the CRC. I am now wrapping up my Masters thesis looking at the current effects and the unrealized potential of national and international implementation of this unprecedented human rights initiative.
I must take a brief aside and make plain one of my assumptions here as a Canadian. This may not be an assumption you share, but I hold this to be the truth: overall, the United Nations does good work, especially UNICEF. If the global community had not already created the UN at this point in history, far-thinking humans would have to invent it in order to dialogue about our collective destiny on this chaotic and disordered little world. Although the bureaucratic and political challenges of the UN sometimes blunt its effectiveness, I believe that the world is a better place for its presence, and perhaps more importantly, its potential. Here in Canada, this assumption of the UNs inherent goodness is virtually universal.
of the CRC
In 1948, no one envisioned the impact of these types of UN treaties on the global community of nations. Looking back on the past half century, we see their influence has been profound. At present, all nations have an awareness of human rights, and what constitutes a violation of such rights. Trading nations with more civil social systems can and do apply effective pressure on their neighbors to respect these individual rights and freedoms.
I believe the fact that Nelson Mandela was released rather than murdered, and that South Africa is now a functioning multi-racial and multi-cultural democratic society is the result of an evolving awareness of human rights issues over the past half century. The same could be argued for the breakdown of communism and the Berlin Wall, or the transformation from the brutal personality cult dictatorship of Marcos to the beginnings of democratic institutions in the Phillipines. Numerous other examples exist around the world. These mostly peaceful transitions had their roots in a growing global awareness about the availability of expanding freedoms, found most notably in the US. The world has made progress in the last century and the area of human rights is one of our most important achievements. Now, at least, there are international standards, and pressure can be applied to nations that do not live up to these principles.