The Australian Human Rights Commission has called for the establishment of a new Children’s Commissioner:
“The Convention on the Rights of the Child is one of the world’s most important human rights treaties, and the most widely ratified treaty in the history of the United Nations…
“The 20th anniversary today is a cause to celebrate the achievements of the Convention as a global milestone in the recognition that human rights are children’s rights. However, we cannot afford to be complacent.”
When Family Court Chief Justice Bryant spoke about the removal of tissue from nonconsenting children – see our post on her lecture – she referred to the sharing of tissue, such as bone marrow, between siblings or related children for life preserving reasons as the only exception to a general prohibition against tissue removal. Chief Justice Bryant then went on speak about trans and intersex children without addressing the obvious question of tissue removal from intersex infants.
Tissue removal, gender stereotyping and behaviour enforcement on newborn and in early infancy has profound and life long consequences for intersex children.
Tasmanian Commissioner for Children Paul Mason has noted the difficulties for intersex children and has been effective in bringing them to international attention. He is especially aware of those issues concerning surgery that Chief Justice Bryant sidestepped.
That a Children’s Commissioner from our smallest state should be so effective speaks to both the need for that position and the respect the office holder is afforded.
A federal Commissioner for Children is needed not only for those born with differences. Those born into disadvantage, violence, and dysfunction need a white knight. The recent tales from “The Stolen Generations,” of Aboriginal children, and also from English migrant children, placed in the care of the state throughout the twentieth century, demonstrates the powerlessness of children and their vulnerability to atrocious treatment at the hands of uncaring or ignorant adults.
There is a desperate need for a Federal Commissioner to speak for the rights of children, to monitor those rights and to seek out those in need and give them both voice and protection.
The Human Rights Commissioner is right, we need a Federal Commissioner for Children.