UNICEF booklet: Promoting children’s rights through the law
By Tee Shiao Eek
KUALA LUMPUR, 10 December 2008 – Children’s basic human rights, as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), are legally binding and governments that have ratified the Convention are obliged to bring their legislation, policy and practice into accordance with these standards.
This message is reinforced in UNICEF’s new booklet, ‘Promoting Children’s Rights through the Law in Malaysia’, which was launched recently in Kuala Lumpur by UNICEF Malaysia Representative Mr Youssouf Oomar.
The booklet highlights Malaysia’s achievements in upholding its obligations to children, by improving national laws and policies that respond to the protection of children’s rights.
The advocacy message of the booklet complements the theme of Human Rights Day this 10 December - 'Dignity and justice for all of us' - which reinforces the 60 year-long vision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that inherent human dignity, non-discrimination, equality, fairness and universality, apply to everyone, everywhere and always.
"With this booklet, we remind Malaysia that the fundamental rights and freedoms of people and children are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)," said Mr Youssouf
“The CRC forever changed how the world looks at children. Not only did it illuminate the many situations in which children suffer, but more significantly, it reminded the world that children also have inherent human rights that must be upheld."
Malaysia ratified the CRC in 1995 as part of its commitment to the protection and wellbeing of its children.
“While this marked a major milestone for the country, there is still much work to be done to address the fulfilment of children’s rights. UNICEF recognises the excellent efforts made by Malaysia towards this direction, under the aegis of the Government,” said Mr Youssouf.
Working together for children’s rights
The booklet was launched in conjunction with Universal Children’s Day 2008, during a dialogue amongst leading child rights-focused NGOs. Organised by the Malaysian Child Resource Institute (MCRI) with support from UNICEF, the dialogue discussed Malaysia’s responsibilities and future actions in advancing children’s rights.
Towards this end, UNICEF has appealed to civil society and community groups to work with the government in safeguarding the rights of every child in Malaysia.
"Children live in families and communities. Their rights cannot be protected by governments alone, but by everyone involved in the care of children."
Mr Youssouf remarked that civil society and community groups play a role in promoting children’s rights and supporting the Government’s efforts in upholding its commitment to the CRC.
He called for civil society, the community and families to work with the government in putting the spotlight on areas of child protection that require urgent attention, particularly violence against children, corporal punishment in schools and child trafficking.
“Children live in families and communities. Their rights cannot be protected by governments alone, but by everyone involved in the care of children,” he said.
Mr Youssouf commended MCRI for its initiative in organising the NGO dialogue, as it was an acknowledgement by the NGO community of their significant role in protecting all children in Malaysia.
It is hoped that the booklet will provide a platform for all sectors to push Malaysia forward as a leader for children.
Resources - CRC
For Young People
Newsline - Rights