Burmese girl walking
How are Myanmar’s children?

Myanmar has ratified (pledged to follow) the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This means that Myanmar must respect the rights of the child and listen to what children have to say. Are the rights of the child respected in Myanmar? (Myanmar is sometimes referred to as Burma).

17.8 million children

52.8 million people live in Myanmar. Almost 17.8 million are children, and 4.5 million of the children are under five years old.

WCP Child Rights Hero Cynthia Maung works in refugee camps and schools in Thailand with children from Myanmar, and gives them health care and getting a birth certificate. ©Tora Mårtens/WCPF

Name and nationality

From the day you are born you have the right to have a name and to be registered as a citizen in your country. 944,000 children are born every year in Myanmar. 2 out of 10 of them are never registered. There is no documented proof that they exist!

Survive and grow

You have the right to life. Myanmar must do all it can to allow children to survive and develop. 1 out of 19 children in Myanmar (48,000 every year) dies before the age of 5, usually due to causes that could have been prevented.

Health and well-being

You have the right to food, clean water, medical care and to privacy when consulting an adult about any health problem. 7 out of 10 children in Myanmar use basic sanitation services, and 7 out of 10 use basic drinking water services.

WCP Child Rights Hero Sompop Jantraka supports children in Myanmar so that they can go to school and are protected from human trafficking. ©Kim Naylor/WCPF
The WCP Program and the Globe are used by Child Rights Ambassadors and teachers in mountain villages in Myanmar. ©Johan Bjerke/WCPF

A home, clothing, food and security

You have the right to a home, food, clothing, education, health care and security. Many children in Myanmar live in extreme poverty with less than 1.90 US-dollar (2,865 Myanmar Kyat) a day to live on.

Education

You have the right to go to school. Primary and secondary schools should be free for everyone. More than 9 out of 10 children in Myanmar go to school, but many of them leave school too early. And many children, especially children from minority populations, do not go to school at all.

Protection against violence

You have the right to protection against all forms of violence, including neglect, maltreatment and abuse. Only 60 countries have forbidden all forms of corporal punishment for children. Myanmar has not. Many schools still allow caning.

Hazardous child labour

You have the right to be protected against both economic exploitation and work that is hazardous to your health or which prevents you from going to school. All work is prohibited for children under 12. Some children are forced into the worst forms of child labour, such as being debt slaves, child soldiers or used for commercial sexual exploitation. Many children in Myanmar have to work.

Your voice must be heard

You have the right to say what you think about any issue that affects you. The adults should listen to the child’s opinion before they make decisions, which must always be made in the best interest of the child!

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