Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell makes historical visit to the UN

by Freya Lucas

February 12

Australia’s National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell, visited Geneva last week, appearing before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in order to discuss her recent report on the state of children’s rights in Australia. 

 

Ms Mitchell’s UN appearance makes history, as she is Australia’s inaugural National Children’s Commissioner and the first National Children’s Commissioner to appear before the UN.

 

The report detailed the key human rights concerns for children and young people in Australia, and was produced in conjunction with over 20,000 children, 100 stakeholders and 127 written submissions. Commissioner Mitchell met personally with nearly 500 children around Australia, in order to learn more about their lives, experiences and concerns, to support in compiling the report.

 

The report highlights violence and mental health issues as those requiring urgent attention, as well as recommending that the age of criminal responsibility be raised to 14 years. Over 50 recommendations are listed in the report for action by Australian governments.

 

“In Australia today, 5.5 million people are under the age of 18. While most of them grow up in safe and healthy environments, there are too many children whose rights are not adequately protected,” Ms Mitchell said.

 

“Going forward, we have much work to do. A central message in the report is the need for stronger measures in policy, law and practice to protect children and advance their rights.”

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