What is Universal Children’s Day?
Investing in our future means investing in our children — which is why the United Nations has designated every November 20 as Universal Children’s Day. It’s a time to promote togetherness around the world, awareness of the problems children face in every corner of the globe, and improve the welfare for all children.
History of Universal Children’s Day
Though Universal Children’s Day was established by the United Nations is 1954, it wasn’t until November 20, 1959 that the UN General Assembly adopted an extended form of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Originally acquired in 1924 by the League of Nations, the UN adopted this document as its own statement of children’s rights. The original text reads as follows:
- The child must be given the means requisite for its normal development, both materially and spiritually
- The child that is hungry must be fed, the child that is sick must be nursed, the child that is backward must be helped, the delinquent child must be reclaimed, and the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succored.
- The child must be the first to receive relief in times of distress.
- The child must be put in a position to earn a livelihood, and must be protected against every form of exploitation.
- The child must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of its fellow men.
For the expanded version, the UN adopted 10 additional principles with an accompanying resolution, proposed by the delegation of Afghanistan, calling for governments to recognize these rights, strive for their acceptance, and publicize the document as widely as possible.
30 years later on November 20, 1989, The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The CRC is a human rights treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social, health, and cultural rights of children. The document deals with child-specific needs and rights, requiring all nations that ratify it are bound to it by international law, and must act within the best interests of the child.
You’ve heard so many people say it: children are the future. And whether you yourself have children or not, that still rings true. Today’s children are tomorrow’s scientists, politicians, doctors and teachers. Today’s children will inherit all of what humanity has managed to accomplish since the beginning of its existence, both the good and honorable deeds and the cruel wars and terrible failures. It is the children of today that will be charged with protecting the weak and vulnerable of this world, and making even the hardest of decisions in order to do so. Who then, if not our children, deserves a holiday? This special day is dedicated to all of the children, so that they may enjoy these carefree years while they last and be ready for the responsibilities that await them. So let’s live it up, kids!
History of Universal Children’s Day
Universal Children’s Day was first announced by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1954. Originally, there were 2 goals this day was to help achieve: to encourage children of all races, creeds and religions to spend time together, getting to know each other and appreciating each other’s differences, and to prompt governments worldwide to pay more attention to the welfare of their youngest citizens. Although Universal Children’s Day takes place on November 20th, each country that participates in the festivities has its own date set aside for this purpose—in South Sudan, for example, Children’s Day is celebrated on December 23rd, in Cuba on the third Sunday of July, and in Poland on June 1st. Since its establishment as a holiday, Universal Children’s Day has been tied to many different, honorable causes, such as the commitment to stopping HIV/AIDS by 2015. Another one of the goals Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations aspires to reach is for every child to have access to an education and be able to attend school. Promoting peace, respect and concern for the environment among the world’s children are also considered to be of utmost importance.
How to celebrate Universal Children’s Day
The first thing you’ll have to ask yourself when celebrating Children’s Day is when you want to celebrate it. As mentioned before, nearly every country celebrates this day on a different date, so depending on where you are in the world, the ways you can do it vary. If you have children, this day would be a great day to spend with them, doing something both fun and educational that the whole family can enjoy. How about a trip to the zoo? Nothing is quite as fascinating to children as wild animals are, and watching them live and function will give you lots of opportunities to talk about different parts of the world and the environment with yours. You could also take them to see a good children’s movie, so you can first watch it and then discuss the story afterwards. Why did the hero/heroin behave the way he or she did? Why was the villain’s behavior wrong? What would your child do if he or she was in a similar situation? Though many people do not seem to notice, all of the better animated movies are not just about colorful animation and lively songs—they teach important life lessons to children as well, about friendship, loyalty, compassion, common sense and love, making them excellent topics for a conversation with your son or daughter over an ice cream sundae after the movie.