Every child is born with rights
Stateless children, through no fault of their own, inherit circumstances that limit their potential: They are born, live and, unless they can resolve their situation, die as almost invisible people. Statelessness can also lead to poor home environments and to family separation, and deprives children access to many other rights available to citizens, including healthcare and education.
HIV and AIDS
Children whose families are affected by HIV and AIDS experience severe emotional and psychological distress. Economic hardship resulting from their parents’ inability to work may cause children to drop out of school or become child labourers. They are often forced to assume the burden of caring for sick parents or for their younger siblings.
Violence against children
Violence on the other hand includes physical, mental, and sexual abuse. It leads to physical and emotional injury and, in the most severe cases, death. Children often suffer violence in silence, afraid to speak out for fear of retribution or shame.
Despite government measures, children continue to suffer violence at the hands of trusted individuals–parents, family members, teachers, peers and acquaintances–in spaces most familiar to them (homes, schools and communities they live in). Legalised violence against children such as corporal punishment risks tolerance of violence against children generally.
Children living on the streets
Not all street children are orphans. In Malaysia, children living on the streets include undocumented children, stateless children and children of migrants. Some children may have run away from home, often in response to psychological, physical or sexual abuse.
Once on the street, they become vulnerable to all forms of exploitation and abuse and their daily lives are likely to be far removed from the type of childhood envisioned in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.