Choi Siwon of the Korean boyband Super Junior, as a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has sent an impassioned message to the children of the region and the world, urging them to be changemakers and to stand up for their rights, during his speech at the opening ceremony of the 5th Asean Children’s Forum (ACF).
The superstar’s appearance at the event – held at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) building – garnered the attention of the local media and forum participants.
In his speech, Siwon said, “Did you know that there are 220 million people under 20 years old in the Asean region? It’s almost 35 percent of all the Asean population. That means 35 percent of voices should be represented in your society, in your politics, for young people.”
However he also noted, “Are you getting enough attention and support from society to grow in a safe, clean and healthy environment? Are the 35 per cent well-represented in your society? My short answer is ‘No’.”
Siwon, who has been a special representative to Unicef‘s Korean National Committee since 2015, urged, “We need to make sure that our policymakers and politicians realize that we are the future of the country, not only by words. We should ask them to invest the right resources for every school, every hospital and every community.”
Determined that all children should enjoy the same rights to survive, thrive and live to their full potential, Siwon has already travelled to different countries to support the Unicef mission globally.
Recalling his journeys, he said, “Unfortunately, I have witnessed millions of children suffering from the deprivation of basic rights such as the rights to education, the rights to health and the rights to play.”
In addition, he said, some are exposed to bullying, sexual abuse and discrimination because of their race, ethnicity and other unacceptable reasons.
“That is why we still need to work hard to meet the needs and aspirations of the children in the region. We cannot be satisfied with what we have now. Children in Asean deserve a better future. Our fight to keep our world safe, clean and healthy for our children is still ongoing. We all need to be a part of the fight against injustice, insecurity and irresponsibility towards children and the world.”
Before concluding his speech, Siwon expressed, “Children can change the world. We too can be Super Juniors.”