Teach respect: Creating a society of children respecting children
KUALA LUMPUR, 14 November 2011 – In time for Universal Children’s Day on 20 November, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today launched its mini-campaign, ‘Teach Respect’, calling on parents, teachers and all adults in the community to teach children to respect each other, through education and even more importantly, by example.
Two 30-second Public Service Announcements (PSAs) produced by Story Me Studios were released on air and online (www.unicef.my), illustrating how children themselves may unwittingly discriminate against other children who are different from them, for example through name-calling and mimicry.
“Child Rights mean that children themselves have to learn to respect each other’s rights,” said UNICEF Representative to Malaysia, Mr Hans Olsen. “Children’s opinions and actions are influenced by what adults and friends around them think, do and say. Prejudice is learnt by living and observing it in society; a child may grow up believing that this is how life must be.”
Free of discrimination
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has so far identified more than 50 grounds of discrimination against children based either on their identity or the identity of their parents. These include discrimination against gender, race, citizenship, family background and income, ability, and HIV status. Discrimination against these children may mean poking fun at them, or not allowing them to participate in play or other activities.
“We need to raise awareness of a child’s right to grow up free of discrimination. Not only is it morally wrong, bullying can destroy childhood for children,” added Mr Olsen.
Broadcasters who will air the PSAs on their TV channels are 8TV, 9TV, Bernama, ntv7, RTM TV1, RTM TV2, TV3, TV AlHijrah and TVi. Corporations and other media backing the campaign through info and digital screens, websites and social media platforms include Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, Malaysian OBserver TV, mStar, RedFM, Seventeen, Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad, The Sun, TraxxFM and YTL Info Screen Sdn Bhd. (Complete list of supporters to-date)
Respect – a right and a responsibility
The right to non-discrimination is a well-established human rights principle in international law including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which Malaysia signed and ratified in 1995. The CRC specifies not just the rights of the child, but also his or her responsibilities to those rights – to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. It is also the responsibility of adults in society to ensure children develop positive attitudes and behaviour, and avoid using their power to bully, harass or discriminate against others.
“Parents, teachers, and other adults are role models that need to make children understand that prejudice and discrimination are unfair. Adults need to encourage children to create positive change by providing examples of how to respond as observers as well as victims,” urged Mr Olsen. “By promoting respectful relationships, we can prevent bullying and support children in developing social skills, understanding and acceptance, social responsibility and citizenship.”
Article 29(d) in the CRC states: “The education of the child shall be directed to the preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin.”..............................................................................................
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Universal Children’s Day
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