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Universal Children’s Day: Wednesday, November 20, 2019
As the world's leading expert on childhood, Save the Children champions the rights of the world's 2.3 billion children.
This November 20, we are proud to join the United Nations in celebrating Universal Children’s Day, established in 1954. November 20th was the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. On the same day in 1989, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is the most universally accepted human rights treaty in history.
As the United Nations marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, here are four more things to know about it.
1. The UNCRC is based on the Declaration on the Rights of the Child, drafted by Save the Children founder Eglantyne Jebb.
In 1919, when Eglantyne founded Save the Children, her conviction that children have a right to food, health care, education and protection from exploitation was not a mainstream idea.
The Declaration on the Rights of the Child asserted that children have a right to food, health care, education and protection from exploitation. The Declaration took the bold step of asserting these rights for all children and made it the duty of the international community to put children’s rights in the forefront of planning.
Jebb’s Declaration on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the League of Nations in 1924.
2. The UNCRC consists of 54 articles.
Every one of the 54 articles included in the agreement set out different but equally important children’s rights, from the right to survive (article 6) to the right to the right to be protected from any work that is dangerous, that interferes with their education or that is harmful to their health (article 32). They also set out how governments should work together to make these rights available to all children.
3. 194 countries have signed up to the UNCRC
All countries that sign up to the UNCRC are bound by international law to ensure it is implemented. This is monitored by the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The UNCRC is also the only international human rights treaty to give non-governmental organizations (NGOs), like Save the Children, a direct role in overseeing its implementation, under Article 45a.
4. The concept of childhood is defined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This important agreement represents a shared vision of childhood: healthy children in school and at play, growing strong and confident with the love and encouragement of their family and an extended community of caring adults, gradually taking on the responsibilities of adulthood, free from fear, safe from violence, protected from abuse and exploitation.
Sadly, this ideal contrasts starkly with the childhood many children experience.[i] In the year 2000, an estimated 970 million children were robbed of their childhoods due to suffering ill-health, malnutrition, exclusion from education, child labor, child marriage, early pregnancy and violent death.
As the world’s leading expert on childhood, Save the Children released its third annual Global Childhood Report this year to celebrate progress for children and examine the major reasons why childhood comes to an early end.
Global progress has saved millions of childhoods since the year 2000.[ii] At least 280 million children, or 1 in 8, are dramatically better off today than at any time in the past two decades.
The report also finds that since 2000, circumstances for children have improved in 173 out of 176 countries.
To read the full Global Childhood Report, click here. You can also read a child-friendly version of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
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