The National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell, appeared before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva last week, in order to discuss her recent report on the state of children’s rights in Australia.
The report details the key human rights concerns for children and young people in Australia and was produced with help from almost 23,000 children, 100 stakeholders and 127 written submissions. Commissioner Mitchell also met personally with approximately 450 children around the country, in order to learn more about their lives and experiences.
The report highlights violence and mental health as issues that require urgent attention, as well as recommending that the age of criminal responsibility be raised to 14 years. It contains 60 recommendations for action by Australian Governments.
“In Australia today, 5.5 million people are under the age of 18. While most of them grow up in safe and healthy environments, there are too many children whose rights are not adequately protected,” says Ms Mitchell.
“Going forward, we have much work to do. A central message in the report is the need for stronger measures in policy, law and practice to protect children and advance their rights.”
Ms Mitchell’s appearance makes history, as she is Australia’s inaugural National Children’s Commissioner and this is the first time the National Children’s Commissioner has appeared at the United Nations.