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Get on the rights side – Things you need to know about your rights and the military

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Between March 2008 and March 2009, UNICEF Canada in collaboration with leading civil society organizations, Canadian children and young people under 18, relevant government departments and civil society groups, produced a prototype of the Optional Protocol to the UN CRC on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC) in youth-friendly language (YFOPAC) . Produced with the support of the Multiculturalism and Human Rights Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage, the prototype is titled “Get on the Rights Side” and distils essential information on children’s rights under OPAC. On 1 December 2009, a second phase of the initiative was launched to disseminate Get on the Rights Side widely across Canada in print and digital form to about 80,000 children and young people. It was particularly targeted to those considering careers in the armed forces or involved in any military training or career information and guidance programmes; youth clubs and programmes; cultural centres; and other community based services and organizations. The prototype will also be disseminated by the Recruiting Group of the Canadian Forces as an integral part of their recruitment literature so that young Canadians can make informed choices with full access to information. The prototype is a step in a larger effort to raise awareness of and to progressively implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols in Canada. It is a significant step, as it modeled strong stakeholder collaboration and a shared approach to implementing children’s rights in Canada.

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