We were strolling in The School @ Jaya One on Malaysia Day, when a huge mural on the wall caught our attention. The “Speaker’s Corner” signage was massive, but the cute cartoon mural underneath hinted that it was anything but a political space.
We decided to take a closer look. We discovered that there were a series of murals in The School, to highlight children’s rights.
Each poster represented one theme taken from the Convention for the Rights of The Child (CRC), which is an international humanitarian instrument to protect and safeguard children. This year marks the 20th year since Malaysia ratified the CRC.
The brightly-colored posters are brilliantly done by the lecturers and students from IACT, which as its campus in Jaya One. Kudos to them for taking the effort to be part of raising awareness for children’s rights.
The first poster we saw had children dressed up in various occupations, standing on top of a “book flower”. The caption in the corner says:
Article 28 You have the right to a good quality education. You should be encouraged to go to school to the highest level you can.
Wow, that is an important right for children all over the world! I immediately think about Malala Yousafzai, the young Nobel Prize laureate who was shot by the Taliban for campaigning to allow girls to go to school. She is now a fierce advocate and travels the world to spread the message that education is the key to transforming societies.
When we think of human rights, we do not automatically think about children. But they are a group that need protection and security, since they are often vulnerable and unable to protect themselves. (Think child abuse, child marriages, discrimination or poor living conditions for children worldwide, particularly those living as refugees or in war-torn countries).
Here are some of the posters we documented, plus the explanations.
You have the right to give your opinion, and for adults to listen and take it seriously.
You have the right to an identity – an official record of who you are. No one should take this away from you.
You have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, in body or mind.
You have the right to be alive.
You have the right to live with your parent(s), unless it is bad for you. You have the right to live with a family who cares for you.
Your family has the responsibility to help you learn to exercise your rights, and to ensure that your rights are protected.
Article 24 You have the right to the best healthcare possible, safe water to drink, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment, and information to help you stay well.
If you live in a different country than your parents, you have the right to be together in the same place.
You have the right to choose your own friends and join or set up groups, as long as it isn’t harmful to others.
Article 29 Your education should help you use and develop your talents and abilities. It should also help you learn to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people.
It’s so important that children’s rights are not ignored. They are the best investment a country can make for its future.