Thirty years ago, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was signed, setting out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of the child. Marking the occasion was a two-day symposium held in Wellington that examined contemporary issues affecting children’s rights across 4 broad areas: (1) the care system (2) the criminal jurisdiction (3) the Family Court (4) the voice of the child in matters affecting them.

Chief Executive of VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, Tracie Shipton, was in attendance and presented accompanied by a video message from Youth Advocate Tupua Urlich.

Keynote speakers included Professor Laura Lundy – Co-director for Centre for Children’s Rights, and Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queens University, Professor Ursula Kilkelly – Law Dean at the School of Law, University College Cork (UCC), Bruce Adamson – Children’s and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland and Justice Vui Clarence Nelson– member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and a Judge of the Supreme Court of Samoa.

There was also a public panel discussion, “Children’s Rights – National and International Contexts” held with these four international speakers and New Zealand’s Children’s Commissioner, Judge Andrew Beecroft.