The CIF organising committee was well represented at the recent Conference on Safeguarding Children’s Best Interests organised by (PLAN International, CCPL HKU and HKU Law Faculty) with Dennis Ho participating in a panel discussion.
The keynote address was given by Ms Mikiko Otani (member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child). She spoke of the key importance of local implementation of international treaties. In particular she referenced the recent establishment in Hong Kong of the Children’s Commission and how this topic had been raised and discussed at CIF 2 at which Ms Otani had been a speaker.
Many of the speakers referenced the establishment of the Children’s Commission and several had specific requests for the practical steps which should be taken by the Children’s Commission to improve Hong Kong’s responsiveness and resources to safeguard children’s best interests.
The Organising Committee of the Hong Kong Children's Issues Forum is saddened to hear of the passing of Madam Justice Robyn Diamond in May 2018. Madam Justice Robyn Diamond was an innovative, learned and dedicated judge, working in some of the most demanding areas of family and child law including international child protection and child abduction and relocation cases. Her work as one of the International Network of Judges working on Hague Convention cases was significant, particularly her work developing the Hague Convention Electronic Bench Book.
Madam Justice Diamond was also a supporter and friend of the Hong Kong Children's Issues Forum, speaking at both the Children's Issues Forum 2 in 2012 and the Children's Issues Forum 3 in 2015, and contributing an important chapter to the Children's Issues Forum 2015 publication, "Reforming Hong Kong's Child & Family Justice System".
The Organising Committee is grateful for the wisdom, humour and kindness that Madam Justice Robyn Diamond always brought to Forum proceedings and send their sincerest condolences to her family and colleagues.
During her first Policy Address, Carrie Lam confirmed her election promise: that Hong Kong would shortly have a Commission dedicated to Children and the issues they face.
The full-length written version of her Policy Address says:
The Government plans to set up a Commission on Children in the middle of next year to amalgamate the efforts made by relevant bureaux/ departments and child concern groups, and focus on addressing children’s issues as they grow. To this end, a preparatory committee chaired by the Chief Executive was established last month, with the Chief Secretary for Administration as the Vice‐chairman. Members of the preparatory committee include the Policy Secretaries of relevant bureaux; experts in children affairs, such as members of the healthcare, education, social welfare and legal sectors; as well as academics and representatives of ethnic minorities and parents...
The preparatory committee held its first meeting early this month to discuss the roles and functions of the Commission on Children as well as its work priorities as suggested by the stakeholders. It will conduct a series of public engagement activities to canvass views from the community extensively including those of children, so as to ensure that the functions and the work of the new Commission on Children will have the support of the community.
This is great news for Hong Kong and especially for the 1.1million children of Hong Kong. It is the result of tireless campaigning by those who work with and for children in the region (to see more information on the campaign for a Children's Commission for Hong Kong). But this is not the end, it is only the beginning. The next task is to ensure that the Children’s Commission is given the powers and resources it will need to be an effective force for positive change in the lives of children and for the recognition of children’s rights as guaranteed under the United Convention of the Rights of the Child (to see CIF publications including work on Children's Commissions).
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.