I am pleased to present my fourth annual Children’s Rights Report as the National Children’s Commissioner. This report details how I have fulfilled my statutory functions, outlined in Section 46MB of the Australia Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth) (the Act) during the 2015-16 period.
During the course of my term, I have continued to monitor Australia’s progress meeting our responsibilities to children and young people under international law. My work and advocacy is inspired and guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). This articulates all the basic conditions children and young people require to thrive and flourish.
This report sets out significant advances in understanding and implementing the necessary prerequisites for ensuring children’s rights are respected and upheld. I also outline areas where more needs to be done, and refer to the major strands of advocacy and research activity I have undertaken throughout the year.
The primary focus for this year’s report is an investigation into the oversight of youth justice detention in Australia. This was a particularly timely initiative given the shocking allegations of the abuse of children and young people in detention in the Northern Territory and Queensland that emerged earlier in the year.
As children’s rights are increasingly recognised in legislation, programs and practice, working with, rather than for, children and young people becomes a normal part of doing business. This is particularly evident in the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children (2009-2020) where ongoing consultation with children and young people has now been embedded in its development, implementation and evaluation.