MONCTON (GNB) – The Université de Moncton will host about 150 participants from the Americas, Europe and Africa at an international summer course on the rights of the child from Aug. 8 to 18. The course is being organized in co-operation with the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate and the provincial government.

The course will offer thematic training on the rights of the child as guaranteed under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It will focus on Article 31 of the convention: the right of the child to rest and leisure; to engage in play and recreational activities; and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts in the community.

The provincial government is allocating $211,872 to support the organization of the course. This financial contribution, made under the Memorandum of Understanding on Canada's Financial Contribution to New Brunswick's Participation in La Francophonie, will help to consolidate the efforts of a working group on the rights of the child at the Université de Moncton. A portion of the funding will be used to award 25 bursaries to participants from countries of the international Francophonie.

"Since the eighth Francophonie summit, held in Moncton in 1999, New Brunswick has been recognized throughout La Francophonie as a leader in child and youth issues," said Economic Development Minister Paul Robichaud, who is also the minister responsible for La Francophonie. "In addition to offering expert, world-class training to anyone who feels strongly about children's rights, this course will promote the ongoing improvement of the living conditions and rights of children in every country around the world."

The course will be delivered by international experts in the field of child advocacy and the protection of children's rights, including Claire Brisset, France's first child advocate; Bernard Richard, New Brunswick's former child and youth advocate and chair of a working group on the rights of the child within La Francophonie; and Najat M'jid, a United Nations special rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

"This summer course is an ideal professional development opportunity for those working in a field related to children, youth and individuals working to develop stronger policies and institutions to recognize the importance of respecting the rights of children around the world," said Christian Whalen, New Brunswick's acting child and youth advocate.

The course was developed by the working group at the Université de Moncton. It was formed in the fall of 2011 on the initiative of the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate to develop a university research hub dedicated to establishing children's rights in the Atlantic region, across Canada, and, comparatively speaking, elsewhere in the world.

"Based on the success of the international symposium on the rights of the child held in Moncton in October 2010, this course promises participants and presenters unique opportunities for learning and exchange," said Raymond Théberge, president and vice-chancellor at the Université de Moncton.