“We were all children once. And we all share the desire for the well-being of our children, which has always been and will continue to be the most universally cherished aspiration of humankind.”
Report of the UN Secretary General, 2001
Yesterday, 20th November, was the 60th Universal Children’s Day. This is a day devoted to promoting the welfare of the children of the world, stopping violence against them and focusing on their rights.
This year marks 25 years since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the UN – the first time that children were recognised by an international treaty as being rights holders.
Its overall statement is that the best interests of the child must always be top priority in all actions that concern children. It gives them basic rights to life, security, identity, education and healthcare; protects them from exploitation and abuse; and gives governments a responsibility for making sure all this happens.
|Universal Children’s Day 2014|
At The Small Things, we believe that this is absolutely right. The best interests of our children are at the heart of every decision we make. It breaks our hearts that so many children in the world don’t have anyone looking out for them in this way, and that we can’t do it for every child in the world who needs it.
|Our kids on the tyre swing|
That’s why Universal Children’s Day is so important: it puts the responsibility on governments to provide for and protect children and to ensure that their rights are being upheld. It gives governments no excuses for not doing this. Nearly every country in the world has signed up to the Convention (including Tanzania but sadly, not the US), yet millions of children all over the world are struggling because they haven’t put it into practice.
Today is a day that we recognise that this is wrong; when we celebrate what has been achieved but recognise that there is so much more to do. All children deserve the best start in life we can give them, and they deserve a day when the whole world stands in solidarity and support of that.
The Small Things is proud to be supporting Universal Children’s Day – and we hope that you will too.
If you would like to look into this further, we recommend a couple videos:
Firstly, ‘From Children’s Rights to Children’s Realities’ (Save the Children’s Child Rights Governance Global Initiative 2012) is a short summary of the rights given to children by the Convention and the problems that still need to be addressed.
If you have a bit more time, try listening to ’25 Year’s of Children’s Rights’ (Session 3 – English). The UN Committee on Children’s Rights has asked children from across the world to discuss the major issues of our time, in celebration of 25 years since the Convention. This session includes the representatives from Tanzania.