The event was held by the Department of Child Affairs at the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, the Vietnam Association for Protection of Children’s Rights (VAPCR), the Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD) and Save the Children in Vietnam.

The dialogue aimed to raise awareness among parents, child caregivers, teachers, journalists and social workers of children’s right to be protected from all forms of discrimination, and at the same time, discussed ways to improve laws and the enforcement of laws on protecting children’s rights.

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At the policy dialogue

In her opening remarks, MSD Director Nguyen Phuong Linh said a study conducted by the MSD in 2018 found that an environment that lacks trust, sharing and support for children at home, school and in society harms children. This why most of discriminated children choose to stay silent and do nothing to stop it, Linh said.

In fact, many parents, teachers and other adults often unintentionally discriminate against children on the grounds of their gender, disability, capacity, family background and other factors, she noted.

Parents and teachers usually compare a child to others to motivate the child to perform at par with their peers, not knowing that it is discriminatory behavior in terms of personal characteristics and capacity, she said. In many cases, this approach harmed children as they may feel hurt, angry and even resent their parents, teachers and those they are compared with, she explained.

Discrimination against children for their family status is also common at schools, she added.

During the dialogue, many participants voiced concern over the fact that children living on the streets, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) children and those with HIV and disabilities face greater discrimination. They stressed the need to adopt measures to protect all groups of children from being unfairly treated.

Vuong Khai Phong, an expert on LGBT from the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE), said a survey by iSEE shows that about 60 percent of LGBT children said they were forced to change their hairstyle or the way they dress; 24.9 percent of those discriminated used to think of suicide and 19 percent have made a suicide attempt. Only 12 percent of them had encourage to speak out and report the problems.

The survey also found that most teachers believed there is no discrimination at their schools but up to 85 percent of LBGT children said their schools did not act to prevent discrimination.

Phong suggested LGBT issues be included in curriculum or extra academic activity at schools to improve awareness among students, teachers and parents of these vulnerable people. He also urged for the development of policies to support disadvantaged LGBT children to reduce discrimination.

Changing the environment around children and adults’ perception and behavior will help prevent discrimination against children, Le Thi Khanh Van, a child expert, said.

It is necessary to launch campaigns with stronger actions to change the environment around the children to facilitate fair treatment for them, she added.

Source: VNA