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Key issues

Every child is born with rights

Birth registration
Birth registration is the State’s official record of a child’s birth and a government’s first acknowledgement of a child’s existence. It is crucial in ensuring a culture of protection. Lack of birth registration can cause statelessness. A stateless person is one who is not a citizen of any country.

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
HIV not only threatens the physical health and survival of children, it destroys their families and deprives them of parental love, care and protection. Stigma and discrimination associated with sex work, drug abuse and HIV infection can cast a veil of invisibility that leads to exclusion and isolation.

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 against children remains largely hidden in Malaysia owing to social and cultural taboos. Corporal punishment is lawful and socially accepted as a form of discipline both at home and in schools—but both can lead to abuse as they are outside legal regulation.

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
Street children are among the most physically visible of all children but they are also among the most “invisible” and therefore the hardest to reach with vital services such as education and healthcare, and the most difficult to protect.

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.

 

 

 

 

Born with rights






Invisible children


The Protective Environment

Convention on the Rights of the Child


Malaysia: child rights


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