All Rights for All Children
"The full and lasting realisation of the human rights of ALL children relies not only on what governments do, but on a grand alliance that unites innovative ideas with committed actions involving a broad range of allies in civil society, the private sector and media -- an alliance that is based on a shared vision, human rights principles, values and perspectives." - Youssouf Oomar
Twenty years ago, the world came together to say YES to children; that children, defined as people below 18 years, have the same general human rights as adults.
Since its adoption on 20 November 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has set in motion a process of social change, building the foundation for a world where all rights for all children are to be guaranteed and protected.
The CRC affirms that every child –regardless of where they are born, the race or ethnic group they belong to, whether they are a boy or girl, rich or poor, living with disabilities or with HIV – must have full opportunity to become a productive member of society, and must have the right to speak up and be heard.
In Malaysia, the CRC has played a vital role in shaping and developing the lives of children, including children from vulnerable and marginalised communities. In 2001, the Child Act was introduced following the country's ratification of the CRC in 1995. Additionally, the CRC has helped reduce the number of children dying before the age of five, accelerated girls’ education as well as promoted “free” primary education, placing Malaysia's achievements for children on par with many industrialised nations.
New challenges however have arisen, for example in the form of HIV and AIDS; as well as violence, abuse and exploitation in places where children should be safe - homes, schools and communities.
UNICEF believes these challenges can be overcome when all people agree, recognise and accept the fundamental rights of all children.
Moms and dads, teachers, nurses and doctors, government leaders and civil society activists, religious and community elders, corporate moguls and media professionals as well as young people and children themselves must unite to speak out in one voice to protect childhood for ALL children.
The 20th Anniversary of the CRC, observed officially on 20 November on a day known as Universal Children's Day, offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build “A World Fit for Children”.
Unite for children.