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Dignity and justice for every child

Human Rights Day
10 December 2008

On the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UNICEF reminds all that the Universal Declaration is a commitment to universal dignity and justice.

© UNICEF Malaysia/2007/Nadchatram

KUALA LUMPUR, 8 December 2008 – When children suffer injustices like abuse and exploitation, it violates their fundamental rights as human beings.

Every child’s rights are enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international treaty that has its roots in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Human Rights Day marks the commemoration of a historic milestone 60 years ago, where the United Nations General Assembly adopted the UDHR to affirm that all human beings are born free, and with equal and inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms.

“Children are human beings too, and the subject of their own human rights. Their rights are founded on the principles of non-discrimination, protection of their best interests, their right to life, survival and development, as well as respect for their views,” said Mr Youssouf Oomar, UNICEF Representative to Malaysia.

While the world has seen dramatic gains for children in the last two decades, universal fulfillment of children’s rights is still a distant dream in many parts of the world. Many children still lack access to healthcare and education while being exposed to violence, abuse and exploitation, especially where there is inadequate political, legal and societal commitment towards strengthening the protective environment for children.

“Children, especially girls, are those least able to stand up for their rights, even though the UDHR and the CRC belongs to each and every one of them. Thus, it is the responsibility of adults everywhere to ensure that their attitudes and actions do not violate the rights of children,” declared Mr Youssouf.

“It is often those who most need their human rights protected, who also need to be informed that the Declaration exists -- and that it exists for them,” echoed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in his statement for the 60th Anniversary of the UDHR.

The 60th Anniversary, celebrated from 2007 to 2008, provided an occasion to build up the political will to ensure that these rights are a living reality for every human being and child – that these rights are known, understood and enjoyed by everyone, everywhere.

The fulfillment of every human being’s rights is essential to a life of dignity and achievement of justice. As a signatory to the UDHR and the CRC, Malaysia has made a commitment towards ensuring that every person and child in the country can rely on just laws for his or her protection.



ABOUT Human Rights Day 2008
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) turns 60 on 10 December 2008. On Human Rights Day 2007, the United Nations Secretary General launched a year-long UN system-wide advocacy campaign to mark this important milestone. The initiative celebrates the Declaration and the promise that has made this document so enduring: “Dignity and justice for all of us”. The campaign aims to increase knowledge and awareness of human rights among the largest number of rights holders so that they can claim and enjoy their rights. Many governments, civil society, educational, cultural and human rights institutions have taken the opportunity during 2008 to reaffirm their commitment to the values and principles of the UDHR and to disseminate information about the Declaration.

Human Rights Day is observed by the international community every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

ABOUT UNICEF and children’s rights
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the first ever human rights treaty which grants a role in its implementation to a specialised United Nations agency, in this case UNICEF. As expressed in its Mission Statement, UNICEF is mandated to "advocate for the protection of children's rights" and it "strives to establish children's rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children."  UNICEF promotes the principles and provisions of the CRC and the mainstreaming of children's rights in a systematic manner, in its advocacy, programming, monitoring and evaluation activities. The CRC provides UNICEF with guidance as to the areas to be assessed and addressed, and it is a tool against which UNICEF measures the progress achieved in those areas. Integrating a human rights approach in all UNICEF's work is an ongoing learning process that includes broadening the framework for UNICEF's development agenda. For more information, please visit  


Indra Nadchatram
(+603) 2095 9157 • (+6) 013 3663452 •

Shiao Eek, Tee
(+603) 2095 9154 • (+6) 012 2070138 •





Human Rights Day 2008

Video PSA - Every Human Being Has Rights

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu speaks out for the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. View

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