Malaysia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1995 but has put in a number of conditions or ‘reservations’. Some of those reservations were lifted throughout the years, however the reservation on Article 7 on the right to identity still remains. Today, children at-risk of statelessness face a myriad of challenges in accessing basic rights in Malaysia, including lacking legal identity documents. This poses a huge impact on the child’s access to fundamental rights, including education and healthcare. A human rights based approach was employed for this research, and focuses on children of Filipino descent found in various Alternative Learning Centres (ALCs), or informal schools located in three geographical locations in Sabah, Malaysia. This paper will discuss the causes, constraints and mitigating factors that children at-risk of statelessness are confront with on a daily basis. We argue that the right to identity is a prerequisite to achieving other basic rights of children, and thus should be addressed as a first step in mitigating the issue of children at-risk of statelessness in Sabah.
Authors: Mary Anne K. Baltazar, Ayesah Uy Abubakar, Wan Shawaluddin Wan Hassan
Topics: Children’s Rights