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LETTER | Ensure best interest of children without discrimination

LETTER | In commemorating World Children’s Day with 2021's theme, "A Better Future for Every Child”, Prof Noor Aziah Mohd Awal, the Children's Commissioner (CC) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) wishes to reiterate that all children should be treated equally and be protected against all forms of discrimination.

The Covid-19 pandemic has immensely impacted the rights and lives of our children in many ways.

Data by the Health Ministry reported by the media on Oct 12, 2021 showed that  410,762 children aged 17 and below in Malaysia contracted Covid-19 which is a dramatic increase from 12,620 infected children last year.

During this difficult time, we have also witnessed other challenges faced by children including the loss of learning, the rise of child abuse cases, mental health issues, orphaned children, and their families being pushed into poverty.

The CC applauds the government for allocating the highest ever allocation of RM52.6 billion for education in 2022 and RM25 million through the Malaysian Family Foundation, to help children who were made orphans by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This demonstrates the seriousness of the government to address the future welfare and academic development of our children.

In strategising the utilisation of these allocations, the CC advises the government to develop a comprehensive post pandemic plan to overcome the ramifications of the pandemic, to benefit all children in Malaysia, regardless of their status.

Article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind.

In view of this, the CC calls on the government to ensure that the 2022 National Budget and Malaysia's National Recovery Plan be driven by the principles of the best interest of the child, their survival and development, non-discrimination, and the views of the child.

Therefore, towards a better future for every child in Malaysia, the CC emphasises that the same principles be consistently applied and integrated into all policies, programmes, legislation, as well as judicial decisions affecting the child.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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