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Convention On The Rights Of The Child

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is an international treaty laying out a set of human rights for all children. The fundamental premise of the Convention is that people below age 18 are entitled to the same rights and freedoms as all people. The Convention has been signed and ratified by more countries than any other human rights instrument, and Malaysia acceded to the Convention in 1995.

The guiding principles of the Convention are the definition of the child as a person below age 18, no discrimination on any basis (such as race, gender, religion, family background, language, disability, etc.), and that decisions affecting a child must be made with the best interests of the child in mind. In addition, each child has a right to life, survival and development, and children have a right to say what they think and have their views heard. The full text of the Convention is available on the United Nation’s website or as a PDF document.

Countries report regularly on their implementation of the Convention. Malaysia reported in 2006 and is due to report again in 2012. The Convention is the only human rights treaty that gives a role to non-governmental organizations in monitoring implementation. When the government of a country submits its reports, civil society also submits its own report to further describe the situation of children’s rights in that country. Voice of the Children is proud to be a member of the Steering Committee to produce the civil society report in 2012. The Mousedeer Group is gathering information from children in Malaysia about how they think their rights are being realized and also will submit a report in 2012.

More useful information about the Convention and other treaties affecting children worldwide can be found on UNICEF’s website and on the Children Rights International Network (CRIN) website.

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