Suhakam acting chairman Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee noted that the government has initiated several legislative and policy frameworks in the past to address issues concerning children, but has requested that more effort went into ensuring child rights were protected.
Rajina Dhillon | PUBLISHED: Nov 12, 2014 10:08am | UPDATED: Nov 12, 2014 10:08am
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12, 2014
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has called for relevant authorities to implement effective anti-bullying policies in light of the recent cases of bullying in schools.
The non-governmental organisation also urged authorities and stakeholders to engage in a national level discussion on the issue.
In a statement yesterday, Suhakam acting chairman Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee noted that the government has initiated several legislative and policy frameworks in the past to address issues concerning children,but has requested that more effort went into ensuring child rights were protected.
As a state party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), he said Malaysia had obligations under Articles 19 and 37 to ensure that children had the right to be protected from all forms of violence.
“Further,the authorities are obliged to create and promote an environment conducive to the maximum development of the child.”
Khaw also noted the existence of the Child Act 2001, the National Policy and Plan of Action for Children and the National Policy and Plan of Action for Child Protection in 2009, in addition to the Penal Code and and Criminal Procedure Code, which put bullying under the purview of criminal offences.
Reminding Malaysians that all children had the right to an education free from violence, harassment and bullying, Khaw said the issue had to be treated with urgency.
He added that apart from being a violation to human rights, it could also make an impact on other fundamental human rights, including the right to education and health.
“In addition, bullying of children in any form including cyberbullying,may have substantial and permanent physical and mental health effects on children, as well as social consequences for the victims and perpetrators.”
Khaw said while legal obligations primarily lie with the government, Suhakam wants all sectors of society and stakeholders to share the responsibility of condemning and preventing violence against children and bullying.
Last week, a video showing nine students being attacked by other students at a hostel went viral on social websites while another video appeared several days later showing a teenage boy being assaulted by several others at an orphanage hostel.