Going blue for children in Myanmar

the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Htet Htet Oo
UNICEF Myanmar/2018/Nyan Zay Htet

27 November 2018

Every year, 20th November, marks the day when the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, was adopted. In Myanmar, this year, children and adolescents took centre stage making it a day ‘for children, by children’. From the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, to Mandalay Region and Rakhine State, children and adolescents urged adults to recognise their rights and to hear their concerns and aspirations. Here are some of the voices of children and adolescents that UNICEF and the Department of Social Welfare helped to elevate throughout the country.

UNICEF Myanmar/2018/Nyan Zay Htet
U-Reporters sharing their concerns with Members of the Union Parliament in a panel discussion.

One of the highlights was the testimony of 21-year-old Ma Roi Seng, who lives in  camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in Kachin State. She moved many to tears, when she spoke of her struggle to complete her education whilst living in the IDP camp, and her continued challenges struggle to find some form of livelihood.  

UNICEF Myanmar/2018/Nyan Zay Htet
“I just want to go back to my village. I don’t want to live in the camps anymore,” Ma Roi Seng from Kachin State tells Parliamentarians present at the World Children’s Day celebration.

UNICEF Myanmar field offices also took part in celebrating the day by participating in various activities to promote child rights. 

Kayin State

In Hpa-An, children performed a drama portraying the four guiding principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: non-discrimination, best interests of the child, survival and development and participation.

UNICEF Myanmar/2018/Phuu Mon Thwe
Children rehearsing their performance before they present to the audience

Rakhine State

In Sittwe, at U Ottama Hall, around 300 children took part in an event that promoted the overall importance of the protection of childrens rights through a music concert and other awareness raising tournaments while development and humanitarian organisations displayed a photo exhibition to showcase their support to children in Rakhine State.

UNICEF Myanmar/2018/Ruslana Sirman
Children performing in Rakhine traditional costumes

Mandalay Region

In Mandalay, children released blue helium balloons that represent a better future for children in Myanmar at the Manawyaman playground.

UNICEF Myanmar/2018/Khinag Khaing Shwe
Children dressed in the uniform of the profession they want to become when they grow up as they realse their blue balloons at the Manawyaman playground.

Mon State

In Mawlamyine, more than 500 people attended the World Children’s Day celebration where children and adolescents emphasized the need to protect all children’s rights and to enable them to fulfill their potential, while Government and UN and NGO representative attentively listened. 

UNICEF Myanmar/2018/May Zan Kyaw
Children performing at the World Children’s Day celebration in Mawlamyine

Through the issues that children chose to highlight, it was clear that children have a distinct voice - children want adults to recognise and respect their rights enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

Back in Nay Pyi Taw, UNICEF Representative to Myanmar made a call to everyone; “Let us commit ourselves to ensure we hear children in our families and communities every day of the year, and as we do so, let us consider the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children.”

UNICEF Myanmar/2018/Nyan Zay Htet
Members of the Parliament hanging their pledges to children across Myanmar, to build a Myanmar for children with children.

UNICEF will continue to engage with children and adolescents and provide opportunities, including the U-Report platform, to ensure their voices are heard and their concerns are addressed by duty bearers. What is your pledge for children in Myanmar today?