The Ambassador of Sweden Mr Staffan Herrström calls on the Vietnamese children to join the writing contest on the rights of the child, emphasising that this is an opportunity for the children to express their ideas, their dreams for a better future, that serves their best interests.
“If you have power to change the present situation for the children of Vietnam, What do you want to change to serve the best interests of the Vietnamese children?” is the theme of the writing contest, organised by the Embassy of Sweden.
Speaking at the launching ceremony at the Embassy on March 17, the Swedish Ambassador said that the simple idea behind the organisation of the contest is to give the children opportunity to raise their voices and have their voices heard. This contest will stimulate children’s creativity. He added: “We know and we have to recognise that many challenges remain in ensuring and protecting the rights of the child in the world and not least Vietnam. To address challenges, we need to listen to the children. The bottom-up approach is necessary and this is how societies develop.”
The Ambassador stressed the importance to fight all violence against children with reference to the recent survey showing that one fourth of mothers with children under 15 say that their husbands have beaten the children. He challenged all men to join the efforts to stop domestic violence.
Mr Staffan Herrström also emphasised on the role of media to make children’s voices heard. Issues of children and young people should be reflected in the local media. Newspapers, radios, television and online papers need to report about children but also through children, their future readers. He said: “This time the Embassy collaborates with the online paper vietnamnet.vn which is one of the various channels we use in order to advocate and to increase interactions between policy makers and the children.”
The writing contest is designed for Vietnamese children aged between 12 and 18. And in not more than 1000 words, the children are encouraged to share their views, their dreams for a better future. Their ideas will be selected and published on vietnamnet.vn to create forum for discussion. Their ideas and messages will be shared among policy makers.
Vietnam is one of the very first nations in Asia and the second in the world to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since 1990, Vietnam has made a lot of progress for child rights protection.
Many children, especially those living in the rural remote and mountainous areas and girls are today still facing many risks in their daily life. All children, not least girls are victims of domestic violence. Sanitation, clean water and healthy environment as well as education are not equally accessible to the children. Children are part of the marginalised population segments who continue to live in conditions of deprivation and exclusion. Poverty causes children to drop out of school, live in the streets or engage in high-risk behaviours such as drug addiction and sex work.
The right to health care and survival, including the right to be protected from domestic violence; the right to education and development; and the right to live in a friendly environment are among the vital rights, which need further efforts and interventions to protect and exercise these rights for the sake of the children, especially children in the rural and remote areas and girls.