Thursday, April 27, 2006

Human Rights Education

Many of us associate human rights with issues such as freedom of speech, democracy and other related issues. However, while the above issues receives the bulk of the attention due largely to the controversial nature by which they are implemented in the country, human rights actually mean a fair bit more than that.

A recent survey conducted by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and highlighted by the Star, indicated a low level of awareness of human rights in the country's secondary schools.

Suhakam has published a 132-page report based on the survey entitled "Knowledge and Practice of Human Rights in Secondary Schools". 5,754 secondary students, 2,132 teachers and 142 administrators from 40 urban and rural schools took part in the survey in 2003.

One of the most striking findings, I thought was the fact that there was "a high level of ignorance with regard to the rights of a disabled child - over 95% of administrators, teachers (93%) and students (90%) said disabled children should be placed in special schools."

Professor Chiam Heng Keng, one of the Suhakam commissioners in-charge of the report said that "[t]hey are not aware that children with disabilities have the right to live a life as normal as possible as outlined in CRC."

Similar to an earlier posting on a innocent child who was rejected schooling opportunities due to being infected by the HIV virus, there's a tendency for society to take the easiest route out by placing these disadvantaged individuals in isolated, demarcated and controlled space and environment, compounding their already disadvantaged circumstances.

Suhakam made several recommendations which should be implemented immediately for there is really nothing preventing the actions from being taken besides administrative and bureaucratic inertia

The recommendations included helping students understand their rights and providing human rights courses in teacher training institutions. In addition "[a]mong Suhakam's recommendations... were to make public transportation and schools disable-friendly, require the private sector to offer employment opportunities and for Parliament to enact a Persons with Disabilities Act without delay."

While we might not be able to reverse a person's disability, let's make the lives of our disabled as normal as it possibly can.


Anonymous said...

There was another article by Dr. Azmi Sharom in the star today again too. :)

Anonymous said...

When we are young, our parents said don't argue we eat salt more than you eat rice.

In schools the teacher said follow the rules wheather right or wrong or else disciplinary action will be taken.

In university follow the rules or else the UUCA will expel you.

In society just follow what the authority said if not ISA can arrest you.

So folks what is human rights here.

Anonymous said...

Anon Fri Apr 28, 06:38:12 PM

That's a good one ;D

Ching said...

you have to balance 'human rights' with order. that's why we need rules.

if 'human rights' to you is no need to listen to parents, discipline teachers, everyone do whatever they want,etc then the result will only be chaotic.