Save the Children Hong Kong: Our Views on the Policy Address 2018
Save the Children’s vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, and all of our work in Hong Kong and globally is based on securing children’s rights. Save the Children Hong Kong believes the Chief Executive’s Policy Address, published on 10 Oct, 2018, should contribute more effort on children’s rights-related issues, indicating a government commitment to strengthen relevant measures to aid our children. For example:
1. Reinforce the Commission on Children’s role
Noticing the Commission’s endeavors described in various parts of the Policy Address, we recognize the government’s determination to protect children’s rights and benefits. As more resources will be allocated to the Commission starting from 2019-20, we recommend the government and the Commission, during the current term:
- Promote the Commission on Children as an independent entity with authority and legal mandates, as well as strengthen its role and functions in the next term of office
- Set up more working groups that cover a wider range of issues affecting children in Hong Kong.
- Ensure children’s participation in the Commission
- Establish a central databank for children in no time.
2. Host a Summit on Children’s Rights
According to the Policy Address, the government will organize summits on education and youth development next year. Save the Children believes a Summit on Children’s Rights is important and can allow academic institution, non-governmental organizations, corporations and government to deliberate on issues and policies related to the most pressing issues related to children. In fact, the Constitutional Mainland Affairs Bureau has held Children’s Rights Forum aiming to solicit children’s views and opinions on significant issues. Children’s voices has always attached paramount importance to our vision. We believe the Summit can supplement opinions gathered from the Children’s Rights Forum and facilitate cross-sectoral discussion with international expertise using innovative, evidence-based approaches to map out the way forward.
3. Expand the Children's Rights Education Funding Scheme
For two consecutive years, the government has indicated the intention to bolster children’s rights through the Scheme. We suggest the government, by studying other funding programs, to incorporate fund matching into the Scheme and expand its scale. This will encourage applications from appropriate organizations for running huge campaigns about children rights, which will bring forward the public understanding of children’s issues.
4. Strengthen child safeguarding and positive parenting
Recently, child abuse cases were inundated and widely reported to the public on different media channels. Considering the scale and frequency of abuse and violence inflicted on children, it’s imperative that these areas of focus be a priority. Save the Children Hong Kong has strong child safeguarding protocols in place which comprehensively help protect children in various areas.
We offer Positive Parenting without Violence (PwV) guidelines and training, which shares commonalities in the methodology of parent education introduced under the Education Bureau. As we believe these are areas which must be prioritized to better respond to the needs of Hong Kong’s children, and we are confident that concerted effort put forth will create promising synergy for safeguarding the best interests of children. We look forward to joining hands with civil society stakeholders to further these causes, and presenting our thoughts to the Government.
5. Highlight the importance of online protection for children
As the Commission on Children increases its focus on child protection measures, it’s imperative that they also incorporate issues related to online protection for children. Children are exposed to many new and evolving risks including child sexual abuse, cyber-bullying, privacy leakage, exposure to inappropriate or violent material, and internet addiction. We strongly suggest the Commission review the online protection concerns of children as soon as possible.
Save the Children Hong Kong firmly believes the above suggestions can help build a firmer foundation for children’s rights over the next years .We look forward to working together with the government and other children concern groups and stakeholders to further this vision.
Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In Hong Kong and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children, every day and in times of crisis, transforming their lives and the future we share. Save the Children Hong Kong is part of the Save the Children movement, which is made up of 28 member organisations, operating in around 120 countries.