Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Statement of Children During the ACSC/APF 2011

Statement of Children During the ACSC/APF 2011
Jakarta, Indonesia
4 May 2011
We are children leaders and members of organizations and clubs from seven ASEAN countries who have been nominated by our peers to attend the ACSC/APF. We are here to share our concerns on children’s issues to ASEAN leaders and also to adults from civil society. We are part of the ASEAN community and have the right to participate.
In October 18 to 23, 2010, we met during the parallel ASEAN Children’s Forum held in Manila with the theme “Making ASEAN Meaningful for Children and Young People”. And from April 30 to May 1, 2011, we met in Jakarta to prepare for our presentation during the ACSC/APF. In these workshops, we shared with our peers child rights issues and concerns we think ASEAN and civil society groups have to address. We also shared our experiences in the promotion of child rights in our countries.
Our worries are:
·         Children are not yet fully aware of their rights. Also, adults are not fully aware of and do not respect our rights.
·         Children suffer from child labour because their families are poor, parents forcing their children to work, and laws are not enforced.
·         Children face violence in the home, schools, prisons, community and other institutions. Adults believe that punishing us make us better persons. Violence stops us from speaking our mind and from telling others when we are harmed.
·         Children face discrimination because of their age, gender, social status, nationality, culture, religion and other background. We feel discriminated because people think that we are not capable of making decisions.
·         Children are trafficked because of lack of law enforcement and economic factors such as poverty.
·         Children are caught in armed conflict where they are at risk of becoming child soldiers.
·         Children have been affected by HIV/AIDS and other diseases yet government provides limited support for healthcare. Healthcare centers especially in remote areas do not have enough medicine, doctors and equipments.
·         Children do not have identities because of their undocumented status. Many children do not have birth certificates. There are also children who do not have citizenship and this makes them difficult to claim their rights.
·         Children have little say on issues and concern them. There is limited opportunity for us to participate, lack of encouragement from adults, limited information given to us and our abilities are underestimated by adults.
·         Children do not go to or drop-out from schools because of high cost of education. In many areas, parents discourage children from studying so they can work to help their families earn a living. Governments do not prioritize education in their budget.
·         Children are receiving less care and attention by their parents. Because of poverty, parents are forced to give more time to work and earn a living for their family. Parents have a hard time to defend and protect their children from harm.
·         Children living with and affected by disability continue to experience various forms of discrimination.
·         The rights of all children in Southeast Asia whether they are citizens or not or whether they are children of migrant workers should be respected, protected and fulfilled.
·         Our right to identity and nationality should be respected and fulfilled. Governments should promote and make birth registration accessible. Birth certificates must be given free of charge to all children in Southeast Asia .
·         All children should be informed about the UN CRC. This will empower us to speak up, monitor and report violations.
·         Ensure that there are laws that protect children from all forms of violence.
·         Ensure that laws are enforced and that government officers are capable and trained well to protect children from abuse and violence.
·         Ensure that governments provide adequate resources, and accessible and quality education and healthcare.
·         Develop national action plans for children. Children should participate in developing these national action plans. Governments should provide adequate budget for the implementation of these national action plans.

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