Children’s rights reborn with children’s voices
Calling all children in Malaysia to participate in the Children's Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
KUALA LUMPUR, 27 June 2012 - Children’s rights in Malaysia are moving to places they have never reached before, with children themselves taking the spotlight with their ideas, opinions and experiences.
With support from UNICEF and the Malaysian Child Resource Institute, the NGO ‘Knowing Children’ is providing opportunities for children in Malaysia to share their views on their human rights with the Geneva-based United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
“The Committee requests reports from children, stating that, ‘in many cases, only children themselves are in a position to indicate whether their rights are being fully recognised and realised’,” explained UNICEF Deputy Representative Dr. Victor Karunan. “For the first time in Malaysia’s history, children will be submitting a Report to the CRC Committee to supplement the Government’s report”.
The Children’s Report program incorporates a variety of approaches such as children’s camps for children to learn about the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as children-friendly, scientific research to ensure the views of as many children, both visible and invisible will be heard and incorporated into the Children’s Report.
Amongst the vulnerable communities the program is engaging with are children in orphanages, children with disabilities, children living in deprived communities, in plantations as well as Orang Asli and indigenous children in Sabah and Sarawak.
With Malaysia’s high internet penetration, social media is also featuring prominently in the program to produce the country’s first Children’s Report. The Mousedeer Group, named after the small yet intelligent animal in local folktales, provides a platform for children with internet access to communicate and interact with one another through Facebook, Twitter and the group’s blog.
Capitalising on technology
A key outcome of the Mousedeer Group camps is an online child rights survey in four languages – Malay, English, Mandarin and Tamil for children below the age of 18.
Developed by children, the surveys are released through the Mousedeer blog in the eight reporting clusters of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. These clusters include children’s civil rights and freedoms, family life and alternative care, basic health, education and leisure as well as protection from abuse, exploitation and violence. These online Surveys, launched on 25 February 2012 will continue until 30 June 2012.
Children from the group have also been invited to several key government initiatives, including an opportunity to meet with the Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia. Said (16)-year old Esther Serene Dorai at the event, “We are the Mousedeer-Group. We should like our opinions to count in major decisions that concern us, children. We want to practice our rights with the Ministry to make choices that shape our futures. Do not disregard us because of our age.”
To participate in the Survey, please visit: http://www.themousedeergroup.com/..............................................................................................
For more information, please contact:
Indra Kumari Nadchatram