UNICEF looking forward to Malaysia’s recommitments to children

KUALA LUMPUR, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Malaysia is hoping for the Malaysian government to renew its commitments made in 1995 to protect the nation’s children from exploitation and harm, said UNICEF Malaysia representative Marianne Clark-Hattingh.

Clark-Hattingh said although Malaysia’s ratification of Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) that year has helped the country to put children first on the agenda, there are still many areas that need to be given attention.

Whilst Malaysia has made huge progress so far, there is still some unfinished business — among others, on those children who still do not have access to education, or healthcare, or who by the lottery of their birth (maybe born as stateless), as well as for those who are subjected to bullying, abuse, and exploitation.

Thus, we look forward to working with the government and civil society to ensure that children in Malaysia will grow up in the environment which supports their development, said Clark-Hattingh to reporters after UNICEF’s media luncheon with Malaysian actress and UNICEF national ambassador Lisa Surihani, here, today.

The media luncheon was held in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of CRC.

The CRC, dubbed as the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the history of the world, was adopted on Nov 20, 1989.

The treaty lists the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children, in which all nations ratified to this convention – including Malaysia – are bound to it by international law.

Clark-Hattingh also shared UNICEF’s idea for a campaign named ‘Malaysia Biru’ to celebrate CRC’s 30th anniversary, which promotes a new Malaysia (Malaysia Baru) to be a nation that respects and prioritises the rights of every child.

“The anniversary campaign will provide us all with a platform to advocate for continued progress and change for children.

“Therefore, I urge the media to take it and run with it. Take the opportunity offered to report on issues in a way that will progress the conversation, inspiring action for children. Let’s help to fulfill the potential and let’s make Malaysia Baru … Malaysia Biru!, said Clark-Hattingh.

She noted that UNICEF and its partners will also engage with children and youth in Malaysia during the campaign to ensure their voices are heard and empower them to become agents of change in their community.

This campaign will culminate with the World Children’s Day celebration on Nov 20 this year.