Universal Children’s Day – November 20th
World Children’s Day or Universal Children’s Day was first established in 1954 and celebrated on 20th November annually to promote child welfare and encourage international togetherness. Universal Children’s Day also serves to bring awareness to children around the globe that have succumbed to violence in forms of abuse, exploitation, and discrimination. The day calls to advocate, promote, and celebrate children’s rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for children.
History of Universal Children’s Day
UN member states recognized children, regardless of race, color, sex, religion and national or social origin, the right to affection, love, understanding, adequate food, medical care, free education, protection against all forms of exploitation and growing in a climate of universal peace and brotherhood.
Universal Children’s Day was first proclaimed in Geneva during the World Conference on Child Welfare in 1925. On 4 November 1949, 1 June was established as the International Day for Protection of Children by the Women’s International Democratic Federation in Moscow. In 1954, Children’s Day was proclaimed by the United Kingdom 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.
On 20 November 1959, the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, since then 20 November is observed as Universal Children’s Day. World Children’s day has seen some milestone events in the field of child welfare. Marking the anniversary of the dates when the Declaration of Child Rights was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly. In 1989 the Convention on the Rights of the Child was also signed on the same date.
Since 1990, World Children’s Day also marks the date when both the Declaration and the Convention on children’s rights was adopted. While most of the countries chose to celebrate it on November 20th, India chooses a different date to celebrate this occasion. India has preponed the date to November 14th, to mark the birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India.
Suggested Read: Children’s Day in India
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted in 1989. and was the first comprehensive human rights treaty on children. It established a holistic framework for ensuring the rights and well-being of all children. The CRC covers both civil and political rights (such as freedom from cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment) and economic, social, and cultural rights (such as the right to education). It also includes rights unique to children (such as the right to know and be cared for by one’s parents).
The convention sets out a number of children’s rights such as the rights to be protected from violence and discrimination and the rights to life, health, and education. CRC protects the rights of children in all areas of their life, including their rights to:
- Life, survival, and development
- Protection from violence, abuse, or neglect
- An education that enables children to fulfill their potential
- Be raised by, or have a relationship with, their parents
- Express their opinions and be listened to
Universal Children’s Day invites us to encourage children in their commitment to shaping a sustainable and just society and in their moral passion. They deserve mentoring and nurturing in their enthusiasms, not being put down with weary cynicism.
To live generously and with hope in the world that we are leaving them will surely require a higher level of virtue, intelligence, lack of self-interest, and respect for their own children’s generation than we have ever reached.
How Universal Children’s Day celebrated
To celebrate Universal Children’s Day a wide range of events take place worldwide in organizations as diverse as schools, charities, businesses, and governments. It is described as “A fun day with a serious message” by the UN when children get the opportunity to take over high profile roles in the media, politics, and sports to raise awareness of challenges faced by children. On social media, these takeovers and other events will be shared using the hashtag #worldchildrensday. Landmark buildings around the world will light up blue on the day to show support for child rights. Wear something blue, change your profile picture online, and help raise awareness.
Universal Children’s Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote, and celebrate children’s rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for Children. So, take time today to celebrate the children in your life and do something special with them — maybe a trip to their favorite museum, the zoo, or their favorite playground.
UNICEF and partners are calling on governments to adopt a Six-Point Plan to Protect our Children
Ensure all children learn, including by closing the digital divide.
Guarantee access to health and nutrition services and make vaccines affordable and available to every child.
Support and protect the mental health of children and young people and bring an end to abuse, gender-based violence, and neglect in childhood.
Increase access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene and address environmental degradation and climate change.
Reverse the rise in child poverty and ensure an inclusive recovery for all.
Redouble efforts to protect and support children and their families living through conflict, disaster, and displacement.
Interesting Universal Children’s Day Facts
Instead of Children’s Day, France celebrates Family Day on January 6th.
Children’s Day is a national holiday in some places, like Turkey and Argentina.
Children’s Day is celebrated on 14th November in India, to pay respect to Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, who was immensely fond of kids.
Australia celebrates Universal Children’s Day on the fourth Wednesday in October.
International Children’s Day was proclaimed in Geneva, Switzerland on June 1st,1925.
The United States celebrates Children’s day on the Second Sunday of June.
Mainland China celebrated Children’s Day on 1st June.
Japan celebrates Children’s Day on 5th May.