FREDERICTON (GNB) — The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, in collaboration with the youth group East Coast Shaking the Movers, issued a report at the legislative assembly on Oct. 10 entitled Defending Child Rights for Refugees and Newcomers.

The report was issued during an information session with staff from the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, young participants, and elected officials.

The young participants provided 33 recommendations on the rights of the child while taking into consideration the context of immigration, the refugee process and the school environment. They also reported cases of discrimination towards newcomers and identified recommendations to break down stereotypes and foster respectful communities where rights are respected and individuals are free from racial discrimination. The report includes only recommendations from the young participants and reflects their discussions during a weekend event.

“It is very important to ensure we listen to our youth in order to fight for their rights,” said Child and Youth Advocate Norman Bossé. “Some young participants informed us about very troubling rights violations that must be addressed together.”

East Coast Shaking the Movers brings together young participants from the province so they can take part in a discussion forum about the rights of the child. Youth-driven and youth-led, the group is an initiative developed by the Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children's Rights.

The forum was organized by the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate with the collaboration of partners including the Multicultural Association of Fredericton. The forum was intended to allow youth to interact directly with decision makers, with the idea that the recommendations will be considered in decision-making processes at the provincial and federal level.

The young people involved as facilitators indicated their hope that the recommendations will turn into action by being shared with school administrators, health professionals and members of the government.