Why we need Children’s Day 2017 more than ever

:Some 63 years since the first official Universal Children’s Day, there is still a need to improve the welfare and quality of life for young people across the world.

Why we need Children's Day 2017 more than ever

In the UK, for example, the number of child protection plans has risen by almost 1,000 in the past year. The number of children dying under the age of five in the UK hit 3,235 last year but this rose to a staggering 184,186 in Ethiopia for the same time period. Only 65% of children attend school in Ethiopia and the number of 15-24 year olds who are literate sits at just 55%. 

To mark the occasion, and bring child welfare to the fore, Google has designed a Doodle to honour Children’s Day 2017. 

Children’s Day 2017

Children’s Day 2017 is a United Nations initiative set up in 1954 “to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improve children’s welfare.” Five years later, on 20 November 1959, the UN General Assembly ratified the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Then thirty years later, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted. 

 The first of these declarations covers 10 principles. These include that every child “shall enjoy all the rights set forth in the declaration, without any exception,” and that the child “shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity.” 

Every child is entitled to a name and a nationality, be able to enjoy the benefits of social security, including the right to “adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical services,” and have the right to love and understanding. The declaration continues that children are also entitled to free education, in the elementary stages, be the first to “receive protection and relief” during an emergency, be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation, and be sheltered from practices which “may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination.” 

The full principles are listed at the end of this article. 

“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,” said the UN. 

For Children’s Day 2017, the UN and UNICEF have invited children to take part in politics, business, sport and media in an event being dubbed #KidsTakeOver.

Children’s Day 2017 comes just after the UK’s Children in Need show, and its national events, and is different to the National Children’s Day celebrated on 13 May. The UK version is “all about the importance of a healthy childhood and how we need to protect the rights and freedoms of children in order to ensure that they can grow into happy, healthy adults.”

Declaration of the Rights of the Child

Principal 1: The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this Declaration. Every child, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to these rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family.

Principle 2: The child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.

Principle 3: The child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality.

Principle 4: The child shall enjoy the benefits of social security. He shall be entitled to grow and develop in health; to this end, special care and protection shall be provided both to him and to his mother, including adequate pre-natal and post-natal care. The child shall have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical services.

Principle 5: The child who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall be given the special treatment, education and care required by his particular condition.

Principle 6: The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and, in any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material security; a child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother. Society and the public authorities shall have the duty to extend particular care to children without a family and to those without adequate means of support. Payment of State and other assistance towards the maintenance of children of large families is desirable.

Principle 7: The child is entitled to receive education, which shall be free and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages. He shall be given an education which will promote his general culture and enable him, on a basis of equal opportunity, to develop his abilities, his individual judgement, and his sense of moral and social responsibility, and to become a useful member of society. The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with his parents. The child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation, which should be directed to the same purposes as education; society and the public authorities shall endeavor to promote the enjoyment of this right.

Principle 8: The child shall in all circumstances be among the first to receive protection and relief.

Principle 9: The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form. The child shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age; he shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.

Principle 10: The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men. 

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