International Children’s Day – June 1

The International Day for Protection of Children is observed in many countries as Children’s Day on June 1 since 1950. Children’s Day is recognized on various days in many places around the world to honor children globally.It was established by the Women’s International Democratic Federation on its congress in Moscow (22 November 1949). It was first proclaimed by the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in 1925 and then established universally in 1954 to protect an “appropriate” day. Major global variants include a Universal Children’s Day on November 20, by United Nations recommendation.

international childrens day

Universal Children’s Day takes place annually on June 1.  First proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, it was established 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.

Children’s Day is observed to promote the objectives outlined in the Charter and for the welfare of children. On November 20, 1959 the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. The United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1989 and can be found on the Council of Europe website.

UNICEF delivers vaccines, works with policymakers for good health care and education and works exclusively to help children and protect their rights. In September 2012, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations led the initiative for the education of children. He firstly wants every child to be able to attend school, a goal by 2015. Secondly, to improve the skill set acquired in these schools. Thirdly, implementing policies regarding education to promote peace, respect and environmental concern.

Universal Children’s Day is not simply a day to celebrate children for who they are, but to bring awareness to children around the globe that have succumbed to violence in forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination. Children are used as labourers in some countries, immersed in armed conflict, living on the streets, suffering by differences be it religion, minority issues, or disabilities. Children feeling the effects of war can be displaced because of the armed conflict and/or suffer physical and psychological trauma. 

The following violations are described in the term “children and armed conflict”: recruitment and child soldiers, killing/maiming of children, abduction of children, attacks on schools/hospitals and not allowing humanitarian access to children. Currently there are about 153 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 who are forced into child labour. The International Labour Organization in 1999 adopted the Prohibition and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour including slavery, child prostitution and child pornography.

A summary of the rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child can be found on the UNICEF website. Canada co-chaired the World Summit for children in 1990 and in 2002 the United Nations reaffirmed the commitment to complete the agenda of the 1990 World Summit. This added to the UN Secretary-General’s report We the Children: End-of Decade review of the follow-up to the World Summit for Children.

The United Nations children’s agency released a study referencing the population increase of children will make up 90 per cent of the next billion people. A summary of the rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child can be found on the UNICEF website.

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