Voices of Children ring out for World Children’s Day
Parliament of Malaysia and UNICEF partner to host commemoration of children’s rights
Kuala Lumpur, 20 November 2023 – “School should be a starting point for children with disabilities and without disabilities to learn together so we have an inclusive society for all” said Justin Choy, 12 years old, a blind student from Sekolah Kebangsaan Klang in his speech during the World Children’s Day event in Parlimen Malaysia that was presided over by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, YB Tan Sri Dato’ (Dr.) Johari bin Abdul.
November 20 marks the birth of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989. The convention recognizes children as individuals with their own rights and asserts that childhood is a special, protected time for children to grow, learn, play and develop with dignity. Malaysia acceded to the CRC 1995, albeit with reservations.
“The Parliament of Malaysia is committed to ensure that children’s rights are protected. Thus, I congratulate UNICEF for collaborating with the Parliament of Malaysia in organising the ‘Picture My Rights’ exhibition to educate and celebrate the voices of children. I would also like to congratulate the winners of the Picture My Rights Award in the Picture My Rights Virtual Launch Ceremony. In giving voice to the youth, the Parliament of Malaysia shall launch the Youth Parliament (Parlimen Belia) which will elect youths from the age of 16 and by next year, we will be organising Parlimen Belia with 222 youth representatives who will be sitting and discussing national issues.” said YB Tan Sri Dato' (Dr.) Johari bin Abdul, the Speaker of the House of Representatives today during his keynote speech of the celebration of World Children’s Day.
Recent statistics indicate there are more than 9 million children living in Malaysia. Article 13 of the CRC upholds children’s right to express themselves in ways that are meaningful to them. The World Children’s Day event supported children as advocates for their own rights by bringing their voices to the halls of Parliament.
“Where there are children, there is hope. In the midst of the many problems affecting children today, we want to focus on the transformative power of children and young people to bring about positive change. When children actively participate, they can lead the way in creating a better world for all” said Robert Gass, UNICEF Representative to Malaysia.
The Voices of Children event at Parliament included a special proclamation by the Speaker, speeches by children, and an exhibition on children’s rights as captured by the Picture My Rights photo competition. The speeches by children reflected their desire to grow up in a more inclusive society, and for practical climate action to build a sustainable future.
Picture My Rights invited young people to express their views about children’s rights and issues that matter to them through the medium of a photo. Over 300 photos were received from children and young people across Malaysia.
The Picture My Rights: A Shot at Life grand prize winners are Airiena Batrisyia Binti Anuar Kamal (16) and Afiq Bin Sharkawi (16) for the 13-17 age category and Irfan Bin Sharkawi (18) and Tanzina Khan (23) for the 18-24 age category. Their photos reflect children's right to be heard, to freedom, to a family, and to rest, play and friendships.
Judges for the competition were included Malaysia’s Children’s Commissioner Dr Farah Nini Dusuki, Amir Faiz, Group Creative Director of IPG Mediabrands and UNICEF Malaysia Communication and Advocacy Chief Niko Wieland. The public can view photos from the finalists on the #AShotatLife virtual exhibition gallery (https://bit.ly/AShotAtLife). Winning entries and selected finalists will be featured on 21 selected digital billboards across the Klang Valley, sponsored by IPG Mediabrands, Laguna Media & iCandy Ads.
World Children’s Day is a global day of action for children by children. It marks the adoption of the CRC in 1989 that outlines the fundamental rights of every child. Malaysia ratified the CRC in 1995.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.