HONG KONG, 12 November 2011 – The Appointment Ceremony of Child Councilors 2011 was held today in The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups Building, with Mr Raymond Tam Chi Yuen, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs as the officiating guest. 47 secondary school students, having received a four-month intensive training, were officially appointed as Child Councilors for the eighth year after receiving metal badges from Mr Raymond Tam. With the status as Child Councilors, they will move and debate three motions closely related to them in front of government officials, legislators, experts, and the media on 19 November 2011 at the Council Chamber of The University of Hong Kong. The three motions are: i) The government should review existing education policies to enhance the Chinese proficiency of students of South Asian ethnic origin; ii) The government should address the serious issue of the cyber bullying of children; and iii) The government should protect children’s right to participation in their parents’ divorce.
the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in Hong Kong.
The representative of the second motion Katherine Ko Hoi Ling said that cyber bullying has become much more common due to the popularity of internet. To ensure children’s right to protection, she urged the Government to pay more attention to cyber bullying in Hong Kong and provide children with a safe and healthy environment.
Lastly, Kate Ng Yu Yan, representative of the third motion also pointed out that the current judicial system in Hong Kong lacks thorough consideration of children’s right to express their own view on their parents’ divorce, implying a violation of children’s right to participation.
This year, the Children’s Council project 2011 has entered into its eighth year. In the past four months, the Child Councilors aged from 12 to 18, coming from 31 secondary schools in Hong Kong received a series of intensive training to learn about children’s rights and prepared three motion debates in groups. During the motion preparation, besides having a total of 30 group meetings, they have also conducted 19 interviews with government officials, legislators and people from child rights related sectors and collected views from about 2,000 people including children regarding the motions through questionnaires.
“The TV news that day depicted our meeting last year as ‘an eloquent debate’. I believe that all Child Councilors here will soon encounter the challenges we strived to overcome last year.” said Vicky Lee, the representative of Child Councilors last year shared her unforgettable experience during the motion debate in the Legislative Council Building on stage at the ceremony to encourage the freshmen. “Witnessing the motion you have long been concerned about is passed in the end will definitely be a great joy to you. The process of motion preparation was not easy, but it’s worthy.”
About the Children’s Council project:
Against Child Abuse, Hong Kong Committee on Children’s Rights and Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF have joined hands since 2000 to promote the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and children’s rights in Hong Kong. In 2002, the first Children’s Council of Hong Kong was established for children to step into the shoes of legislators to discuss and debate issues relating to children’s rights and fight for the rights of children. The Children’s Council project is sponsored by the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau and supported by Kids’ Dream, the first child-led organisation in Hong Kong. Over the years, more than 20 child-related motions have been discussed. For more information, please visit the official website of Children’s Council.
About the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC):
The United Nations General Assembly declared 20 November as the Universal Children’s Day in 1959 when the Declaration of the Rights of the Child was passed. This marked the beginning of the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) that has benefited children from all over the world of different background, status, religion, race and situation. The UNCRC, has now become the most widely adopted treaty by world nations, and was extended to Hong Kong in 1994. States Parties to the UNCRC are obliged to develop and undertake all actions and policies in the light of the best interests of the child, better international programmes striving for children’s well-being and support the work to protect children under particular conditions.