Montréal is among the few cities in the world that have a support program specifically designed to help international organizations set up their operations in the area. They make a strategic contribution to growing the economy and raising the profile of Québec’s metropolis around the world.
The 62 international organizations already established in Montréal enable the region to stand out in several key sectors of its economy — such as civil aviation, life sciences, environment and environmental technology, design and creative industries, as well as energy and natural resources. Some of them are also working to promote and defend causes around the world, like the International Bureau of Children’s Rights (IBCR), which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Montréal this month. To celebrate this success, Montréal International hands the floor to IBCR’s Director General, Guillaume Landry.
The International Bureau of Children’s Rights (the Bureau) will celebrate its 20th anniversary on November 21 and will also mark the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child at a buffet and drinks reception at Montréal city hall. Several noted children’s rights supporters will speak at the event and guests will be able to take part in workshops discussing the work being done by the Bureau.
But first, a little history…
The Bureau was founded in Montréal in 1994 with a mission to promote the Convention on the Rights of the Child around the world. The Convention was ratified by almost all world states. Staffed by a team of some twenty experts, the Bureau works directly with NGOs, community groups and public institutions in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Québec to professionalize expertise in children’s rights and raise the quality of services provided.
In 2003, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) awarded a consultative status to the Bureau, recognizing the quality of its work and its contribution to the United Nations’ programs and objectives, notably through the Guidelines on justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime. The Bureau is the only international NGO mentioned in a resolution that led to the creation of an international standard, which is considered to be a major breakthrough in child justice.
A Convention was held by the Bureau in Ivory Coast in November 2013 with support from the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, UNICEF and Save the Children. The event drew 22 delegations from African nations comprising a total of more than 100 attendees. The Bureau succeeded in bringing together for the seventh time authorities from the justice, security and social work sectors to renew their commitment to reinforcing their competencies in protecting children’s rights. For the last five years, the Bureau’s pragmatic, flexible and participative approach to capacities reinforcement has enabled hundreds of police officers, judges and social workers to be trained on effective intervention with child victims, witnesses and criminal offenders.
The Bureau has access to the services of Montréal’s rich pool of multilingual child protection experts, which is particularly helpful during this period of expansion. The city’s strategic positioning with French- and Arab-speaking communities imparts additional credibility among the Bureau’s partners. It also enables the Bureau to capitalize on the child protection experience and knowledge of Québec institutions and society—a valuable asset!
Director General, International Bureau of Children’s Rights