Universal Children’s Day was initiated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954 ‘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’.
The day is celebrated annually on 20 November and serves to promote the objectives outlined in the Charter and for the welfare of children. On 20 November 1958 the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. On 20 November 1989, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This day does is not solely to celebrate children for what they are, but also to bring awareness to children around the globe that have been victims of any forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination. In some countries, children are used as labourers or recruited to be soldiers. Children around the world can be sold into modern-day slavery and live on the streets. Children in war-torn countries can become displaced and can suffer physical / psychological trauma. There are currently approximately 153 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 who are forced into child labour. In 1999 the International Labour Organization in adopted the Prohibition and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour including slavery, child prostitution and child pornography.
As part of this day, we must all ensure that no child is harmed emotionally or physically and that we take responsibility for their future.