Since November 2016 the LegCo Sub-Committee on children’s rights, led by Chair Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, has met ten times and has discussed a wide range of matters relating to children’s rights. These include child care; education, particularly pressure on students and the spate of recent student suicides; the treatment of children in care and in detention; the needs of vulnerable children including those living in poverty, those living with special needs, as well as refugee and migrant children. The Sub-Committee has canvassed not just an overview of unmet needs and problems faced by children. It has also asked for input from stakeholders on possible solutions. Chief amongst these has been the consideration of the establishment of a Children’s Commission.
At each meeting the Sub-Committee has heard representations from experts drawn from a variety of backgrounds: social work, education, law, medicine, NGOs and other stakeholders. As a result, the papers submitted to the Sub-Committee and the minutes of the meetings now form a veritable archive of data and analysis on the needs and experience of the wide range of children in Hong Kong today.
To hear children’s issues ventilated at such a high level is most welcome. Now let us hope that talk can be transformed into action. One step in the right direction would be to follow the views expressed by those addressing the Sub-Committee and to act on the recommendation of the UN Committee of Children’s Rights by giving Hong Kong’s children a voice in the form of their own Children’s Commission.
Prof. Anne Scully-Hill
CIF Voices is a collaborative effort amongst multi-disciplinary professionals working with children's issues around the world. Views presented are those of individual contributors and not the Children's Issues Forum.