Human Rights Day Event

13 December: EU stands up for the rights of women and children

Today, the EU commemorated International Human Rights Day. This year the UN encouraged everyone to “stand up for someone’s rights”. The “stand up” campaign is a call to people across the world to take action to promote human rights in the understanding that human rights are valid for everyone, at any time and anywhere: in the workplace, on the sports field, at school, in the street. It emphasizes that small steps, and local, sometimes individual, action can add up to a global movement that can make a difference. The campaign wants to encourage people to use their rights to defend the rights of others. In Malaysia, the EU today stood up for the rights of women and children, as Netherlands Ambassador Karin Mössenlechner mentioned in her opening speech.

In the event the documentary film “Casablanca Calling” was screened. It shows how a group of women in Morocco uses its rights to help other women in sometimes everyday situations, sometimes very difficult circumstances. The screening of the film was followed by a panel discussion with five panelists: Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, socio-political activist and writer, Prof. Madya Dr. Rafidah, Malaysian Muslim Solidarity (ISMA), Prof. Harlina Halizah Siraj Halina, IKRAM,  Marianne Clark-Hattingh, UNICEF Representative to Malaysia, Mrs. Srividhya Ganapathy, Co-Chair of the Children's Rights Committee at the Malaysian Bar Association. The animated debate and ensuing Q&A session were moderated by Ezra Zaid from BFM Radio. There was a good discussion on female leadership in Malaysia, child marriage, civil law versus sharia law, steps necessary to prevent sexual abuse of children. Panelists found common ground on the need for educating women and children on their rights and on the need for sexual education of children and their parents.