KUALA LUMPUR (20 NOVEMBER 2019) – Children’s Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) Prof Dato’ Noor Aziah Hj. Mohd. Awal observes 20 November as Universal Children’s Day, a day to commemorate children’s welfare worldwide, as well as to promote and celebrate children’s rights. This year is extra special as it marks 30 years
of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) – 30 years of child rights that have helped transform children’s lives around the world. The convention sets four main principles:
- Right to development in areas including education, medical care, food and shelter
- Right to participation
- Best interest of children
However, much work still needs to be done in order to ensure that the rights of children are totally protected throughout the entire country. Malaysia is home to around 31.7 million people, a third of which are children. Children represent one of the most vulnerable groups in the country, susceptible to poverty, violence, exploitation, and lack of support particularly in cases of disability, statelessness or lack of documentation. Recent cases related to Tahfiz schools where children became victims of violence and death indicate that stronger regulations and enforcement are required for the protection of children.
Furthermore, the remaining five reservations of the CRC, namely non-discrimination; right to a
name or nationality; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; free and compulsory primary education; and freedom from torture and deprivation of liberty are serious obstacles in empowering children to be fully protected and their rights respected.
On the 30th Anniversary of the CRC and on Universal Children’s Day, the Children’s Commissioner calls for the withdrawal of all remaining reservations to the CRC and for the protection and promotion of the rights of all children in Malaysia. Prof Dato’ Noor Aziah Hj. Mohd. Awal envisions a future in which all children, regardless of status or background, can achieve their fullest potential and live fulfilling lives. It is also the responsibility of the Government, the authorities and all the rest of us, as adults, to make sure that Malaysia is a safer and better place for children to live and grow up.
Professor Dato’ Noor Aziah Hj. Mohd Awal
20 November 2019