Universal Children's Day History
Universal Children's Day aims to create a day of international fraternity and understanding between children all over the globe. The holiday's secondary purpose is to promote the objectives and ideals of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child through activities and awareness. Children are the future of the planet but they are a vulnerable group exposed to abuse and exploitation on a daily basis. As young dependents, children rely on adults for everything from food to shelter to education and it is imperative that their rights be heard if they are to survive and develop into the next generation of world citizens.
Universal Children's Day was declared on in 1954 by the United Nations General Assembly as a day to be celebrated on November 20, the anniversaries of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which protect the human rights of children.
Universal Children's Day Facts & Quotes
- The UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in November 1989. The United States drafted and signed the treaty, however it is currently the only member county that has not ratified it, meaning that the US is not legally bound by the Convention. Ratifying the treaty would go against certain laws currently in place in the US, most notably, the treaty forbids life imprisonment without parole for children under 18.
- According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die every day as a result of poverty, often due to preventable diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia.
- As of 2013, 21.8 million children worldwide in their first year of life had not received adequate vaccine doses against diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
The poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty. - The World Food Programme
What is at stake is nothing less than the survival and well-being of a generation of innocents. - Antonia Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Universal Children's Day Top Events and Things to Do
- Donate to support organizations that work with underprivileged children here in the US and abroad. These organizations ensure that children have access to education, basic health care, food, water and a safe home. SOS USA, UNHCR and UNICEF all provide care and protection to children domestically and internationally.
- Read the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child to learn more about how these treaties can impact your community. There are groups advocating for ratifying it in the US and other groups that are against its ratification. Which do you fall in?
- Spend the day playing with your children, your nieces and nephews, your grandchildren or other children that you know. Take them to the beach, a playground, a movie, or any other outing of their choosing.
- Donate your time to American organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of America or UNICEF that constantly need volunteers to organize and execute activities for children in needy communities.
- Watch a movie that touches on children's rights. Our picks are In This World (2012), Arna's Children (2002) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008)