What is the human rights of children?
‘Rights’ describe the way all human beings should be treated. All human beings have a duty to see that other people enjoy their rights. When human beings do not enjoy their rights it is known as a violation.
All human beings have exactly the same rights:
- To be respected
- To live in peace and safety
- To enjoy shelter, food, education and health
- To take part in decisions made about their lives
This is agreed by all countries in the United Nations. Children are human beings, hence they are also entitled to their rights!
What is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child?
The Convention (UNCRC) is part of the laws agreed by the United Nations (‘international human-rights law’). The UNCRC was agreed by all countries that belong to the United Nations. It describes the rights all children should enjoy because they are human beings,
As of 2009, 193 countries have ratified the CRC with the exception of United States of America and Somalia. This shows that children’s rights are very much important and is acknowledged by adults. Malaysia ratified the CRC in 1995. The CRC is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights
Who is a child?
A child is a human being who has not yet reached his or her 18th birthday. All children have equal rights to live and to develop into adults;
- Boys and girls
- Children of different religions
- Children of different cultures
- Poor children and rich children
- Children with disabilities
- Children who are good at school and children who are not
All children, everywhere, all the time!
Malaysia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1995. That is six years after the Convention came to be!
When a country ratify the UNCRC, it agrees to ensure that specific laws are made to ensure the rights and dignity of the children. Almost all nations submit regular reports on children’s rights to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Government of Malaysia is no exception and will submit its next report in 2012
In 2002, 17-year-old Khairul Azri was one of Malaysia’s child delegates to the UN ‘Special Session on Children’. Later, UNICEF’s 2004 State of the World’s Children, quoted Khairul saying:
Adults miss the point. When is a child considered skilful enough to contribute and participate actively? If you do not give them the opportunity to participate, they will not acquire the skills. Give us the chance early and see how we fly.
With support from UNICEF and the Malaysian Child Resource Institute, the Malaysian NGO ‘Knowing Children’ is providing opportunities for children from all over Malaysia to ‘see how they fly’ by communicating with the United Nations Committee the Rights of the Child about what they think about their human rights.
The Committee regularly asks nations for reports from children, stating that, ‘in many cases, only children themselves are in a position to indicate whether their rights are being fully recognized and realized’.Thus, in 2012, when the Committee on the Rights of the Child receives a second report from the Government of Malaysia, Malaysian children will submit a report at the same time as the government; the widest possible group of children should be involved in this report.
The Mousedeer Group exists to help them do so.