The Enactment of the New Child Rights Law by the Government of Myanmar a Landmark Step – UNICEF

YANGON 24 July 2019 – Today’s enactment of the Child Rights Law demonstrates Myanmar’s commendable efforts to align national policies and regulatory frameworks with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that Myanmar ratified in 1991.

Under the newly enacted Child Rights Law, a child is defined as anyone under the age of 18. Today, all children born in Myanmar are guaranteed to the fundamental and unconditional right to register at birth. Birth registration is the first right of the child and a stepping stone to enjoying other rights such as the right to health, education and protection.

With the establishment of a minimum age of marriage (18 years) and to employment (14 years), the value of childhood is recognised and helps allow children be children.

The new chapter on proper regulation of care arrangements puts importance for children’s welfare wherever they reside. Stability and certainty regarding who provides for a child’s basic needs is a necessity to make children feel safe.

All forms of violence against children are prohibited.

The introduction of diversion and alternative mechanisms for children in conflict with the law demonstrates a significant departure from a punitive-focused juvenile justice system to a more child-centred, restorative and rehabilitation-oriented one. It also includes a chapter on the protection and assistance of child victims and witnesses who come into contact with the law.

The law also recognizes that children affected by armed conflict need special protection by criminalizing grave violations against children and providing stronger legal protection for children in the context of armed conflict.

“This landmark step today makes this year’s 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child all the more meaningful in Myanmar,” said June Kunugi, UNICEF Representative to Myanmar.   “UNICEF stands ready to work with Government, members of Parliament, and civil society to help ensure that the Law and future bylaws supporting its realization are in full alignment with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other internationally agreed standards and principles”.

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