Did you know that you’re born with rights? Rights are what you should have or be able to do to realise the very best that you can be.

Your rights are protected by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which was adopted by the United Nations thirty years ago in 1989.

The CRC recognizes anyone below 18 years old as a child with a right to special care and protection. In 42 out of its 54 articles, the CRC describes the bare minimum of a safe and secure childhood for children. These basic standards apply without discrimination to all children, everywhere — both offline and online — to enable you to live a happy life, and to give you a bright future!

The CRC is guided by four fundamental principles:

1Right to Life and Survival

You have the right to survive, to be alive, to have a safe place to sleep, to have enough food and to be able to get medical care. You also have a right to live in a clean environment free of pollution.

2Right to Development.

You have the right to receive an education, to rest and to play, to think freely, to believe in whatever you do and to go to events that celebrate your culture. You also have the right to find out about what’s happening in the world through the internet, TV, radio, newspaper, books and other sources.

3Right to Protection.

You have a right to be protected from all forms of violence, abuse, torture, exploitation, neglect. This includes all forms of violent discipline, bullying, trafficking, sexual harassment, child marriage and rape.

4Right to Participation.

You have the right to have your say — and be listened to — when adults are making decisions that affect you. You have the right to freedom of thought, and the right to obtain and share information of all kinds and in all forms, as long as that information is not damaging to yourself or others. You also have the right to join organisations and the right to privacy.

And here’s the important thing – no one can take these rights away from you! Many adults are responsible to do what is best for you. The Government has the main responsibility to make sure your rights are protected and provided for.

As you grow, you have more responsibility to make choices and exercise your rights. You can show your respect for the rights of others in different ways. For example, you can:

  • Always treat others fairly
  • Respect others’ right to education by helping them learn
  • Respect others’ right to protection from harm by being kind and stopping bullying
  • Respect others’ right to share their views by asking what they think or want to do
  • Respect the privacy of others by not sharing their information or photos without permission
  • Tell a trusted adult if you have been hurt, neglected or badly treated so they can help you

2019 is an opportunity for you to ACT. CRC30 this year provides you an opportunity to speak up and be heard. For a start, you can learn more about your rights. And then you can use your knowledge to remind your Government of its obligations to children; and to let your political leaders know that you care about the rights of every child in Malaysia, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability; no matter if they’re indigenous, refugee or a migrant.

Remember, each of us has a role to ensure no child in Malaysia is left behind. Only together can we make the CRC a part of the fabric of everyday life.

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