Today is Universal Children’s Day
The Universal Children’s day is being commemorated today with various events that focus on the theme: “Stop Violence against Children”. This significant date was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20, 1954. Five years later, on November 20, 1959, the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and 30 years later the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted, which Serbia accepted.
By resolution of December 14, 1954, the UN General Assembly recommended that all countries institute a Universal Children’s Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. It recommended that the Day was to be observed also as a day of activity devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the Charter and the welfare of the children of the world.
In 2000 world leaders outlined the Millennium Development Goals which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015. Though the Goals are for all humankind, they are primarily about children. UNICEF notes that six of the eight goals relate directly to children and meeting the last two will also make critical improvements in their lives.
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. Currently there are about 153 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 who are forced into child labour. In 1999 the International Labour Organization adopted the Prohibition and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour including slavery.
Children’s Day is often celebrated on other days as well. International Day for Protection of Children is observed in many countries as Children’s Day on June 1 since 1950.