It is very significant that the Convention [on the Rights of the Child] recognises that the practice of democracy has to start early in childhood in order to become part of the fabric of the political and social life of the society. On the other hand, a child can practice such right only in a free society. The implementation of the Convention must therefore be integrated into an overall approach that promotes human rights in general and the rights of the child in particular.
—Hoda Mohamed Badran, Chairperson,
Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Secretary-General, National Council
for Childhood and Motherhood,
What are the “Rights of the
Child” in relation to Human Rights? This takes on many meanings – education,
health care, family, identity, ethnic background, cultural heritage, language –
among others. SLORC directly and indirectly denies all children of
Indeed, children are the most vulnerable segment of society, being affected by a number of factors, from childhood experiences to destruction of natural resources, because these things directly affect the future of children as adults. When children’s rights are guaranteed, so are our futures. Consider this evidence as violations against the rights of the child.
Children are forbidden
receive an education in their own language. Schools run by ethnic minorities
are routinely shut down by SLORC, as were universities and higher institutions
of learning. Now schools are being restricted in
Muslim girls are forced into “educational” courses on military bases. Not only is this against the wishes of the girls’ parents and insensitive to their religious beliefs, but girls experience sexual harassment and worse by soldiers.
The sex industry,
meanwhile, both inside
Children are often the
first to suffer in poor economic conditions, and malnutrition is recorded as
affecting 10% of
Children face horrific experiences as refugees and running from SLORC; children must hide when SLORC soldiers come to villages. The mental shock they undergo will last them a lifetime of pain. Also because communities are ripped apart, traumatically forced to relocate or flee, the basic right that every child has to a stable upbringing is destroyed for a lifetime. These events will continue to disrupt and affect their entire lives.
EDUCATION FOR THE PRIVILEGED
If you want to pass the
matriculation exam in
During the first week of
January 1995, the local SLORC military commander issued an ultimatum to close
down over 90 Mon language schools in 63 Mon villages in
[see also under “Eye-witness Accounts”, interview 10, 28, 30-31, 34, 38, 44, 46, 49, 67, 92, 109, 111-112, 120, 138-141]