Children's Day: Celebrating Rights and Global Initiatives for Children

October 6, 2023

Children's Day, a yearly commemorative event honoring children, has its roots traced back to various origins. International Children's Day was initially declared during the 1925 World Conference on Child Welfare in Geneva. Since 1950, it has been widely observed on June 1 in numerous countries. World Children's Day, on November 20, marks the commemoration of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, established by the UN General Assembly in 1959. In some places, it's celebrated as Children's Week rather than a single day. The Sikhs, for instance, observe Children's Day from December 20 to December 27. In the United States, Children's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of June.

Origins

Photo: https://library.hds.harvard.edu/exhibits/featured-images/leonard-charles

Children's Day traces its inception back to Reverend Dr. Charles Leonard in 1857 when it was known as Rose Day, later renamed Flower Sunday, and eventually, Children's Day. In 1920, the Republic of Turkey officially designated April 23 as Children's Day, a decision solidified by Mustafa Kemal Atatรผrk in 1929. Meanwhile, International Children's Day, first proclaimed in Geneva in 1925, led to the establishment of June 1 as the International Day for Protection of Children on November 4, 1949, celebrated across numerous countries since 1950. On December 14, 1954, India and Uruguay jointly passed a UN resolution to create Universal Children's Day, and November 20 serves as World Children's Day to honor the UN's Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959.

Modern Initiatives

In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals, aiming to halt HIV/AIDS spread, particularly affecting children, were introduced. UNICEF dedicates its efforts to fulfill six of these goals, safeguarding children's rights and well-being.

Photo: https://theelders.org/news/former-un-secretary-general-ban-ki-moon-joins-elders

In 2012, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon led initiatives for global education, striving for universal access to education, improved skills, and policies promoting peace, respect, and environmental awareness by 2015.

Universal Children's Day draws attention to child labor, armed conflicts, violence, abuse, and discrimination. An alarming 153 million children aged 5-14 are subjected to forced labor. The International Labour Organization has taken steps to combat the worst forms of child labor, including slavery, child prostitution, and child pornography.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child outlines children's rights, and UNICEF provides a comprehensive summary.

Canada co-chaired the 1990 World Summit for Children, with the UN recommitting to its goals in 2002.

A UN study underscores that children will make up 90% of the next billion people due to population growth, emphasizing the importance of addressing children's needs and rights in the years to come.

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