Equality Myanmar aims to engage a broad spectrum of people, including children, to promote child rights and work collaboratively toward the protection and realization of child rights within the various sectors of Burmese society. Utilizing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) as overarching principles and operational guidelines, Equality Myanmar offers and initiates a wide array of activities including trainings, music and theater performances, and public ceremonies among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), ethnic communities inside Burma, and refugees and migrant workers in Thailand to raise awareness about child rights. Equality Myanmar also produces publications, posters, and music videos to disseminate information about child rights and to reach the wider public inside Burma. The Child Rights Program implements this work primarily through two projects: the Anti-Child Trafficking Project and the Anti-Child Soldiers Project.
Anti-Child Trafficking Project
The Anti-Child Trafficking Project aims to prevent child trafficking in vulnerable communities and reduce the number of trafficked children in Burma. In collaboration with Burma-Act, Equality Myanmar provides community education to Karen, Mon, migrant workers, the Shan School on the Thai-Burma border, Kachin, and Shan and Palaung populations on the China-Burma border. Equality Myanmar distributes posters and books written in a variety of ethnic languages among children and illiterates.
As a partner of Asia ACTs, a regional networking group working on anti-child trafficking in the region, Equality Myanmar, in collaboration with other partner groups from Burma, celebrates December 12th annually as Anti-Child Trafficking Day. Last year’s event, held in Mae Sot, on the Thai-Burmese border, was attended by almost 2000 people.
Equality Myanmar aims, with this program, to raise awareness about child trafficking and strengthen communities to protect against trafficking whilst also increasing the attention given to the issue of child trafficking among partner organizations.
These aims are reached through a variety of methods. Firstly, through the Training of Trainers (ToT) on child trafficking, allowing the participants to then further educate communities within Burma on the issue. Other methods of education include community awareness programs and community theater on the issue of child trafficking. In particular, youth members of United-ACT have formed a theater troupe, which has won the Freedom to Create prize, and regularly perform plays about child trafficking to migrant communities where trafficking has been reported as a problem. Equality Myanmar also publishes primers, posters, music videos, and documentaries, in different ethnic languages, concerning child trafficking. Examples of these can be found on the website.
Anti-Child Soldiers Project
The Anti-Child Soldiers Project focuses on addressing the problems and phenomena of child soldiers specific to Burma. Equality Myanmar engages with Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs) to foster their adherence to legal standards and norms against using and recruiting child soldiers. Focusing on IDPs, refugees and ethnic communities living on the borders, Equality Myanmar gives public awareness trainings in child rights and child soldiers, strengthening the abilities and skills of these communities in child protection. Equality Myanmar also conducts research on child soldiers in Burma and uses it for advocacy in the international arena.
Each year Equality Myanmar holds an event in Mae Sot to commemorate Red Hand Day, an international day falling on 12th February that calls for the end of children being used as soldiers. The aim is to help educate the community on issues surrounding the use of children as soldiers, and help protect those children, and those in the wider Burmese community, being recruited. The message is also discussed through various training programs as well as informative music videos, posters, literature and documentaries. Examples of these can be found on the website.
Children Affected By Armed Conflict Project
This project is a continuation of Equality Myanmar efforts to stop the use of children as soldiers in Burma. This project has been developed to help develop the child rights consciousness of teachers and of Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs) within Burma with the ultimate aim of changing NSAGs policy on their inclusion of child soldiers. Furthermore, the project aims to increase the numbers of children who are aware of their rights and the risks associated with being recruited in to an armed group, and provide them with a means to promote child rights. Through this program youths have taken part in the annual Red Hand Day and been supported in the formation of the “Child Rights Forum of Burma” which worked on the Shadow Report, the findings of which were presented to the Committee On The Rights Of The Child. Moreover, since training members of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) some significant changes in their policies regarding child protection have been seen.