Children are citizens today: Adapting the CRC to a new century
KUALA LUMPUR, 17 August 2011 – Citizenship and the right to be an equal, active participant in society are not limited to adults. The more children are involved in public affairs, the more they learn and develop as responsible citizens, stressed Vice-Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Professor Yanghee Lee, at a dialogue attended by Malaysia’s top media professionals.
Organised by UNICEF and the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI), the dialogue themed “Children are citizens today: Adapting the CRC to a new century” was an effort to help the media reflect upon the special responsibilities they carry, and inspire them to be enablers of expression for citizens of all ages, including children. The dialogue discussed how the media can give children an avenue where they will be listened to as a citizen, not just a child.
“There is little doubt that children have become more visible in society,” said Professor Lee in her keynote address. “One of the biggest remaining challenges is to involve children in the decision-making processes, in all matters affecting them. All societies publicly claim that children are our future. But if we do not recognise our children in the present, how do we expect that they will have a future?”
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) states that all children are entitled to the rights to name and identity, information, expression, association, justice and non-discrimination. UNICEF aims to help fulfil these rights by empowering children to be producers, not just subjects and users of media.
“As representatives of the general public, the media has a particularly important role in protecting and promoting children and their rights,” urged Mr. Hans Olsen, UNICEF Representative to Malaysia. “Rather than being just a source of entertainment, the media has the power to help children broaden their knowledge, engage with society, and develop their citizenship skills.”
Advancing child rights
Professor Lee is visiting from Korea to meet with the government, NGOs, media and children. Her visit also serves to help facilitate Malaysia’s second progress report on efforts to advance child rights in the country. The report is due to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (based in Geneva) in 2012.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child is an internationally-elected body of independent experts that monitors how well governments are meeting the standards for the realisation and protection of children's rights enumerated in the CRC. It is the most universally accepted human rights document in history...............................................................................................
NOTE TO EDITOR:
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
Professor Yanghee Lee
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Indra Kumari Nadchatram
Children in the Media
A Guide to Media Policy in Malaysia. Read
Ethical Reporting Guidelines
Principles and guidelines for ethical reporting on children and young people under 18 years old. Read
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