Painting Contest Promotes Children’s Rights

More than 100 Cambodian children gathered at Wat Phnom Sunday to draw, color and paint in celebration of their country’s signing of a pact to protect children’s rights.

To mark the 10th anniversary of Cambodia’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, NGOs and schools from around the country put together a children’s drawing contest at the capital’s most sacred temple, event coordinator Meas Vuthy said. At least 127 children entered the contest.

The youngest children were asked to portray general themes of children’s rights, while their older brothers and sisters were asked to draw pictures de­picting their right to register for birth certificates, Meas Vuthy said.

Kong Phearek, 6, drew a portrait of her favorite place. “I drew school, because I love my school,” she said.

School was a major theme of the younger children’s efforts, with some variations. Phuong Sopanha Peak drew a school building because, he said, “I want every child to go to school.”

In the older group, Thach Thar­oath drew a picture of a family standing before a judge in a courtroom.

“The judge cannot give justice to the child because there is no birth certificate. The child cannot get his inheritance,” the young artist said.

Part of the goal of the birth-certificate theme was to push the Ministry of Interior to be more forthcoming with the paperwork that young people legal standing, Meas Vuthy said.

Other children had darker visions. Soeun Chean drew two pictures, one of a boy sniffing glue and another of a man dragging a dead child in a bag.

“I draw it because I saw it,” he said.


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