On the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), all countries worldwide have conducted activities to raise the awareness of the public and children themselves to see the importance of the Rights of the Child, which have been ratified by different countries, including Thailand, to ensure the endorsement and protection of the rights of all children around the world. In short, the Convention on the Rights of the Child revolves around 4 basic rights: right to survival, right to protection, right to development, and children’s right to participation. By the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, with collaboration across relevant agencies from the public and private sectors, as well as child-focused NGOs, the 30th Children’s Rights Forum: Towards the 4th Decade, the Next Step for the Child was held on 19 November 2019, followed by the Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: CRC@30 and BEYOND on 20-22 November 2019. Both of the events took place at Centra by Centara, Government Complex Hotel & Convention Centre.
Youth representatives, not only from the Children and Youth Council of Thailand but also from different provinces, had an opportunity to participate in an exchange of experiences, accumulate knowledge regarding children’s rights, and amplify voices of children and make them heard by the duty bearers, who would embrace relevant comments in their operations, both in practice and in the stipulation of legal frameworks and regulations that would truly benefit and best suit the child and youth.
As a Christian relief and development organisation that focuses on improved quality of life of children, families, and communities with a goal to achieve children’s life transformation towards well-being, closely connected to the CRC, World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) led youth core leaders from the Child Sponsorship Programme who have been supported by WVFT with life skills, leadership skills, and knowledge about children’s rights to participate in these events and encouraged these young talented to gather knowledge and experiences and proudly represent their ethnic peers by reflecting their opinions about the CRC in the national-level forum.
‘Un’, or Theeradet, a 10th grader and a youth core leader from the Child Sponsorship Programme in Mae Taeng Project, Chiang Mai, revealed his feeling from having joined the national-level event: ‘It was a very good opportunity to be part of these activities. I have learnt about various problems from the viewpoint of adults who work for children’s rights promotion, as well as their efforts to solve problems for us. The knowledge sharing session also allowed children to fully express their opinions. Meanwhile, all of the adults opened their heart to hear our voices. It gave the child and the adult an opportunity to exchange ideas that would lead to a more fruitful result out of children’s rights promotion in Thailand’.
‘Rung’, or Rungthip, another 10th grader and a youth core leader from the Child Sponsorship Programme in Mae Taeng Project, Chiang Mai, added how she benefited from these activities: ‘I’m glad and proud to represent all WVFT’s children to join these events. I met my peers from different regions and gained an array of experiences. My interest in children’s rights is particularly around child health and basic welfare, including antenatal care, child psychology, services for poor children living in remote areas. One thing that I considered important, because it has a great impact upon children, is the proper care for children living with parents who are unaware that they have mental conditions, or who are aware of it but refuse to receive medical attention. I think that this is something to be taken seriously and put on high vigilance by relevant sectors. We never know what will possibly happen to children in this situation’.
‘Un’ and ‘Rung’ agreed that: ‘children’s rights promotion is about giving children an opportunity to contribute their ideas and show their potential. We have received various opportunities from WVFT staff since we were young. We have become good kids today because of them. Million thanks to WVFT and staff’.
It is absolutely critical that all sectors actively continue pushing forward their efforts that enable all children to exercise the rights they deserve. Most importantly, voices from the bottom of the heart of all children and adolescents should resound in the head of many adults who will ensure that every move they make to drive the rights of the child is strong and steady.