At the beginning of November, UNICEF Australia, in its role as convenor of the Australian Child Rights Taskforce, released The Children’s Report, a comprehensive account of the challenges facing children in Australia today. The report was launched by UNICEF Australia chair, Ann Sherry, Order of Australia (AO) at the National Press Club in Canberra, and submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The report helps to capture the voices of children and summarises findings from consultations with 527 children and young people in 30 remote, regional and urban locations across Australia. In total the report has 190 recommendations to help us all work together to improve the rights of children.
MMG made an invaluable contribution to this process by drawing on strong community relationships to help lend a voice to the report. Viviane Fuchs, from MMG’s Australian Exploration team, facilitated consultations in the remote areas of Borroloola and Robinson River in the Northern Territory (N.T). Freyana Irani, UNICEF’s Senior Policy Advisor, co-researcher and lead author of this report, was incredibly grateful for Viviane’s assistance and described her as “respectful, informed, and deeply invested in developing genuine and meaningfully strong relationships with community”.
MMG also hosted the lead author Freyana, and other UNICEF Australia staff at the Garma festival in the N.T, in August, where preliminary findings about the report where released to the various stakeholders. Freyana said,
“While many children in Australia enjoy a good quality of life, for the ones that don’t, the extent of the disparity is shocking. Almost 30 years after committing to minimum standards for our children by signing the UN Children’s Convention, improvements have been only incremental and isolated.”
“With over five million children in Australia, we should be ensuring that the decisions we make, which impact on the lives of children and young people now and in the future, are made with them in mind and include processes for them to have their say as citizens and significant stakeholders,” said Tony Stuart, CEO of UNICEF Australia.
In 2019, the Australian Government will officially appear before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF Australia will work with the Government to encourage them to accept and implement the report’s recommendations in order to improve outcomes for children in Australia.
The report can be accessed at UNICEF’s website.
UNICEF and MMG have partnered together for the last five years to focus on programs and projects to support the health and education of children primarily in Laos through the 1000 Day Project and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) program.
Pictured: Cover image of The Children’s Report.
- Freyana Irani, UNICEF’s Senior Policy Advisor, on the road to Robinson River in the N.T.