Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

Press Release: Amnesty International - Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Experts Back NZ Initiative On Rights Education

Two Canadian researchers have backed an initiative aimed at ensuring children learn their human rights and responsibilities as New Zealand and global citizens, saying research suggests it will contribute to greater participation and engagement in school, and improved educational achievement.

Dr Katherine Covell and Dr Brian Howe from the Children' s Rights Centre at Cape Breton University, Canada, are visiting New Zealand as part of Building Human Rights Communities in Education - a collaborative initiative involving schools and early childhood education centres, the Children' s Commissioner, Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, Development Resource Centre and Peace Foundation.

Covell and Howe say that New Zealand' s new Curriculum -launched last November - is on track by requiring that "respect for self, others, and human rights" be "evident in the school' s philosophy, structures, curriculum, classrooms, and relationships".

"The evidence suggests that teaching children their rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, quickly leads to young people recognizing the rights of others, including their parents," Dr Covell says.

"Where schools have been firmly based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the results have been improved classroom behaviour, better attendance, lower bullying and exclusion rates, and better standard test scores."

Part of New Zealand' s Action Plan for Human Rights, Building Human Rights Communities in Education is aimed at the development of New Zealand' s schools and early childhood education centres as communities in which human rights and responsibilities are "known, promoted and lived".

The Initiative has been endorsed by former Governors-General Sir Paul Reeves and Dame Silvia Cartwright.

Edmonton Journal logo

Revisiting Canada's infanticide law

The Edmonton Journal
November 12, 2006

A safeguard for women? An insult to women? Canada's infanticide law, like the crime itself, ignites strong emotions on both sides. Just how did the legislation evolve and why do some legal experts want it scrapped?

"You heartless bastards!"

The words rang out in a Wetaskiwin courtroom, Ryan Effert's verbal attack on the eight-woman, four-man jury that had just found his 20-year-old sister, Katrina, guilty of murdering her newborn baby.

Ryan Effert was the first to lash out at the jury, but his angry words have been echoed by many others. Defence lawyers, legal experts, pundits and members of the public have all expressed upset and bewilderment at the decision on Sept. 26.  Read More ..

Calgary Sun

Infanticide law must die

The Calgary Sun
September 25, 2010

For six decades, women who have killed their babies have typically benefited from reduced sentences under our infanticide law because of the belief their minds were disturbed from giving birth.

University of Alberta law professor Sanjeev Anand wonders why only mothers who kill their infants get a break.

Fathers and adoptive parents should have a shot at judicial compassion as well, he argues in a provocative article in the Alberta Law Review.

There is little evidence of a direct connection between the physical effects of childbirth or lactation and the onset of mental disturbances in women, he declares.

Rather, poverty, isolation and other social stresses are more likely causes of the mental illness some women experience after childbirth, Anand argues.

And if mothers are vulnerable to mental breakdowns because of the socio-economic burden of child-rearing, surely fathers and adoptive parents risk the same stress and should also be able to use the defence of infanticide, he says.

"Once the law recognizes biological mothers who kill their children may commit these acts because of the effects of mental disorders caused by social stresses, the law must also acknowledge all parents are susceptible to such influences," Anand writes. Read More ..

Infanticide is justifiable in some cases, says UK ethics professor

One of British medicine's most senior advisers on medical ethics has provoked outrage by claiming that infanticide is "justifiable".

Professor John Harris, a member of the British Medical Association's ethics committee, said that it was not "plausible to think that there is any moral change that occurs during the journey down the birth canal" - suggesting that there was no moral difference between aborting a foetus and killing a baby.  Read More ..