KOTA KINABALU, Dec 4 (Bernama) — The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has acknowledged Malaysia’s commitment towards the Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC), despite reservations on some of the convention’s conditions.
Unicef representative in Malaysia, Wivina Belmonte was happy to note that the country had removed certain reservations over the years.
“Yes, we still have outstanding reservations (with Malaysia) and we are still in discussion with the government.
“But then again, it is not unusual for governments to have reservations and it is not unusual for Unicef to have these discussions with them,” she told reporters after a seminar on the rights of migrant children here Wednesday.
The seminar was organised by Unicef, the European Union and the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam).
Belmonte said it was unfair for certain quarters to accuse signatories of the CRC, including Malaysia, of not upholding their commitment to the convention.
“Reservations (of CRC signatories) are there for reasons that the governments were very clear about, and that is something that we understand and work with the governments,” she added.
On the seminar, Belmonte said two issues which still needed to be addressed, were raised regarding Malaysia’s ratification of the CRC.
She said the two issues continued becoming highlights as in other seminars and discussions before this — birth registration of children born in Malaysia to migrant parents and the provision of education to migrant children.
“In terms of Sabah, one of the things we are doing with the education ministry, Sabah Task Force and the Economic Planning Unit is that we are making sure that undocumented children have, at least, access to primary education.
“Our (Unicef) presence here is to work with the government to resolve these issues. We are not working alone and what we have been doing now would not have existed without our partnership with the government, in particular, the education ministry,” she said.