20 November is Universal Children’s Day, to celebrate their rights

Oggi l’Onu celebra bambini e adolescenti, per ricordare che ancora troppi di loro non godono dei diritti che meriterebbero.

Children are strange creatures, they’re seemingly fragile, but at the same time strong and they have talents that adults wouldn’t dream of. “Children find everything in nothing, men find nothing in everything”, wrote Giacomo Leopardi, perfectly summing up the wonder with which children face life in a sentence.

universal children's day
“Children find everything in nothing, men find nothing in everything” (Giacomo Leopardi)

The consequences of violence against children

Children’s and teenagers’ rights are still squashed as millions of them are victims of abuse and mistreatment. These abuses are intrinsically atrocious and also have social, cultural and economic consequences and children who suffer from them often become vulnerable adults. To fight such violence the UN established the International children’s and teenagers’ rights day on the 20th of November.

The history of Universal Children’s Day

This is the same day when, back in 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that became the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.

Children victims of war

The lives of millions of children around the world are upset by wars and conflicts. The bloody war that has been raging in Syria since 2011 has killed over 10,000 children and young people under 18. Everybody remembers the image of Aylan’s body, the three-year-old Syrian child found dead on a beach in Turkey following the shipwreck of the boat on which he was travelling and with whom he had fled his country hoping to reach Canada.

syrian girl
Syrian girl © Anadolu Agency

Ban Ki-moon’s message

“The one thing all children have in common is their rights. Every child has the right to survive and thrive, to be educated, to be free from violence and abuse, to participate and to be heard”, said Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the UN. The United Nations encourages all the countries to celebrate this day with events aimed at promoting children’s wellbeing.

Twenty-six years ago the world, through the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child made a pledge to children: it would do everything in its power to protect them and promote their rights, in order to let them grow up and fully express their talents.

The 20th of November is Universal Children’s Day

Progress has been made but the road is still long

Since then, much progress has been made, starting from the drop in infant mortality and increase in school enrolment, but much work still remains: over 150 million children are still forced to work and give up leisure and education.

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