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Raising awareness on the rights of children


KUCHING: Collaboration between the government and society is necessary for greater awareness and implementation of child rights, says Unicef Malaysia.

Its senior child protection specialist Phenny Kakama said since Malaysia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1995, it has an obligation to ensure that the population knows about the rights and their implementation.

The CRC recognises the basic human rights of children, defined as persons aged 18 years and below, including the right to life, health, education, protection and participation.

One major outcome of Malaysia’s ratification of the CRC is the Child Act 2001, which seeks to protect children from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, among others.

Malaysia has also acceded to the CRC optional protocols which prohibit the sale of children, criminalises sexual exploitation and bans child recruitment in armed conflict.

“The primary responsibility to implement the CRC lies with the government. However, it needs to work together with NGOs, local communities and parents in a collaborative effort to ensure effective implementation,” Kakama said on the sidelines of a training seminar on the rights of the child organised by Unicef Malaysia here recently.

About 20 participants from various NGOs attended the two-day seminar.

Kakama said it was important for the participants to see how they could apply the CRC in their own work and to disseminate the information to others.

“A two-day seminar on its own is not enough. We need the NGOs to use and share the knowledge with their own communities,” he said.

Child protection specialist Selvi Supramaniam said the seminar aimed to create awareness on the CRC and how NGOs could operationalise it in their work.

“This will help them to identify children’s rights issues and be able to address them,” she said.

She said Unicef Malaysia’s advocacy efforts included strengthening policies and laws for children.

“We conduct training to create awareness for NGOs to be strong advocates and speak up for children.”

Sarawak , cjo , d

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