Universal Children’s Day
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” – Albert Einstein
Universal Children’s Day takes place annually on November 20. First proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, it was established to encourage all countries to institute a day, firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and secondly to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world’s children.
This day is observed to promote the objectives outlined in the Charter and for the welfare of children. On November 20, 1958 the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. The United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1989.
In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals outlined by world leaders in order to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015. Albeit this applies to all people, the main objective is with regard to children. UNICEF is dedicated to meeting the six of eight goals that apply to the needs of children so that they are all entitled to basic rights written in the 1989 international human rights treaty. UNICEF delivers vaccines, works with policymakers for good health care and education and works exclusively to help children and protect their rights.
In September 2012, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations led the initiative for the education of children. He firstly wants every child to be able to attend school, a goal by 2015. Secondly, to improve the skillset acquired in these schools. Thirdly, implementing policies regarding education to promote peace, respect and environmental concern.
Universal Children’s Day is not simply a day to celebrate children for who they are, but to bring awareness to children around the globe that have succumbed to violence in forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination. Children are used as labourers in some countries, immersed in armed conflict, living on the streets, suffering by differences be it religion, minority issues, or disabilities. Children feeling the effects of war can be displaced because of the armed conflict and/or suffer physical and psychological trauma. The following violations are described in the term “children and armed conflict”: recruitment and child soldiers, killing/maiming of children, abduction of children, attacks on schools/hospitals and not allowing humanitarian access to children. Currently there are about 153 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 who are forced into child labour. The International Labour Organization in 1999 adopted the Prohibition and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour including slavery, child prostitution and child pornography.
Canada co-chaired the World Summit for children in 1990 and in 2002 the United Nations reaffirmed the commitment to complete the agenda of the 1990 World Summit. This added to the UN Secretary-General’s report We the Children: End-of Decade review of the follow-up to the World Summit for Children.
Small Voices Big Dreams is one of the largest global polls of children’s views in the world. This year, to mark the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, over 6,000 children from 44 countries tell us why child rights are important to them.