Reflections on CRC Article 27

Children have the right to food, clothing and a safe place to live so they can develop in the best possible way. The government should help families and children who cannot afford this.

Laksmi Pamuntjak
Rosita, fishes outside her house in Papua
01 November 2019

Looking at Rosita, sitting on the deck of her home in Aseibesar Village in Sentani, Papua, I’m sure there are things she doesn’t have that she wishes she did. Things she wishes she understood, or understood better, and not just because she’s only 11 years old.

Papua is a land like no other; it is extraordinary in its beauty and scale. But life is also hard: there’s poverty, remoteness, a long and complicated history of strife.

I imagine her wanting more. More than what she has now—which isn’t a lot. I imagine her watching television with her family and seeing worlds that are different than hers—and so many of them. Worlds that are brighter, richer, less remote; worlds where people live in concrete houses, tall buildings, and the streets are full of places to eat.

I imagine her watching shows and movies that make her laugh and wish she were in them. I imagine her watching people cooking different and interesting dishes, wishing that her mother could make them someday. I imagine her watching children like herself doing and enjoying things she’s never done, a game, a sport, going on vacation, and wishing she’s one of them.

I imagine her wanting to see what’s out there, beyond the deck of her house, across the water, the mountains and the valleys. I imagine her wanting to go to sea, to learn how to sail, to maybe work in a ship one day. I imagine her wanting to understand what people are saying when they talk to her in a different language. I imagine her wanting to understand why some people fight and hurt one another, what needs to happen for it to stop.

I also imagine her loving her home. Loving her family and the things they do together. Loving her friends and her school, if she goes to school. I can see that she loves to fish. I see her sitting there, by the water, at her favorite spot; smiling, sometimes lost in thought, perhaps thinking where she would be tomorrow, next month, in a few years’ time.

I like how the cold, the wind and the sunlight hug her at the same time, making her feel—I hope—as though she was sitting at the mouth of the world. Everything so vast, so fluid, so open—and the possibility of her being part of it.

Though these reflections were inspired by the accompanying photographs, the texts do not describe the life or story of any person depicted within them.


Convention on the rights of the child

In 1989, governments across the world promised all children the same rights by adopting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The Convention says what countries must do so that all children grow as healthy as possible, can learn at school, are protected, have their views listened to, and are treated fairly.

As part of Indonesia’s celebrations in November 2019, to mark the 30th anniversary of the CRC, UNICEF asked Indonesian author Laksmi Pamuntjak to help us envision some of these CRC articles. Inspired by photos and images from our database, and working with our programme specialists, Laksmi created 15 fictional texts on some of the most relevant articles for the Indonesian context.

Though these reflections were inspired by the accompanying photographs, the texts do not describe the life or story of any person depicted within them.