Friday, March 4, 2011

OROL Media Statement: Children and Youth Action for the South East Asia Rivers Day, February 22, 2011

Media Statement, February 22, 2011

Our Rivers, Our Life:
Children and Youth Action for the South East Asia Rivers Day

 “I know what makes the water become dirty…there are industrial wastes being dump into the river, the factories dump their waste directly into the river. The river becomes the biggest and longest trash bin in Medan City”

Young Indonesian girl illustrated the river cut cross her home town in the short film named “Friend for River”, children’s story about Indonesian rivers.

Over the past decades, Asia environment crisis is part of the rapid economic growth in developing countries such as Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam in accompanied by a sharp increase in environmental degradation including a range of problems from industrial pollution to the destruction of natural resources.
We have no other means for income and survival…the development taken our fish, build dams and polluted our water. It is sad…very sad”, an ethnic girl from Northern Thailand said.
Estimated 8 million children worldwide died before their 5th birthday in 2009[1] and more than half of the 2.1 million annual deaths under-five years in associated with air pollution occur in South East Asia[2], the under-five mortality rate represent a various factors threaten a child survival, for example, income and food availability in the family, the availability of safe drinking water and basic sanitation and the overall safety of the child’s environment. The loss of water quality, reduced water availability, poisons in the environment and the loss of biodiversity will lead to a highly risk for children to grow up.
The Child Rights Convention entitled the right of a child to enjoy a clean and safe environment; in Article 24, 2(c) addressed the right to be protected from disease and malnutrition, including within the framework of primary health care, through the application of readily available technology and through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking water, taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution.

Regional Working Group on Biodiversity stands in solidarity with the peoples and communities around the world, who stand up against the construction of mega-dams, mining, and other destructive river developments, which harm rivers. Rivers are the life blood of our communities and we need to protect them against exploitation and preserve them for our children and our children's children.

The Our Rivers, Our Life Campaign thus makes the recommendation to ensure that Children have right to enjoy a clean and safe environment even in economic growth driven society. The development should respect for the natural environment. As addressed in Child Right Convention (CRC), children right have covered in various dimensions which not yet clearly addressed children right with the environmental perspective. Thus newly concept has been introducing, “Ecological Child Rights”, in order to ensure the right of children to live in a clean and safe environment and grow up in a healthy life and develop positive future perspectives.

Over the years, the Regional Working on Biodiversity has built up a regional network on environmental advocate in South East Asia with 7 countries initiated to encompass issues of environment social movements under its campaign called “Our Rivers, Our Life”

'Our Rivers Our Life' is a regional campaign to improve rivers’ and people’s life in South East Asia through the promotion of ecological child rights. The OROL campaign are collaboration of environment advocate group whose focuses on the protection of river biodiversity in the South East Asia region, and is the main work of the Regional Working Group on Biodiversity (RWG) an alliance of NGO representatives from seven countries that focuses on the health of 11 rivers; the Salween (Burma), Mekong (Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam), Mae Khon and Mae Kok (Thailand), Agusan and Rio Grande De Mindanao (Philippines), Cisadane (Indonesia), the Dong Nai and Saigon (Vietnam) and the Xedone and Xelanong (Laos).

'Our Rivers Our Life' campaign works closely with those communities affected by river degradation and encourages the active participation of children and youth in river health programs.  In the environmental movement, the network shares its concern on river degradation which affected on communities and children who living in. Thus OROL campaign together with youth and children urge for the right to participate in environmental preservation is the so-called “Ecological Child Rights”.

Campaign films are available online;

Official website:
Mr. Phapi  Rakdamrongphorn
Campaign Convenor
(+66) 8 1724 7093 or

[1] Source: State of the World’s Children, 2010, UNICEF, p.18-19.

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