Observing World Children's Day


INTERNATIONAL days and observances are set aside to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilise political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.

The existence of such days pre-date the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. November 20, once again, marked the observance of World Children’s Day, with many schools taking time to celebrate the beauty, vitality, wonder and promise of the nation’s children.

According to the UN, as a global observance, World Children’s Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children's Day and is celebrated annually to promote international collaboration and awareness among children and improve their welfare.

November 20 is an important date, as it is the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Since 1990, World Children's Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the assembly adopted both the Declaration and the Convention on children's rights.

Mothers and fathers, teachers, nurses and doctors, government leaders and civil society activists, religious and community elders, corporate moguls and media professionals, as well as young people and children themselves, play an important part in making World Children's Day relevant for their societies, communities and nations.

World 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.

The theme for this year’s observance was, Inclusion for Every Child. From climate change, education and mental health, to ending racism and discrimination, globally children and young people have been raising their voices on issues that matter to their generation and are calling for adults and leaders to create a better future says the UN.

Globally, children are among the most vulnerable to the indiscriminate greed of humankind.

The impact of climate change, translating into devastating droughts and flooding continues to deny millions of children worldwide their basic human rights.

The world looks on with horror at the inhumanity of wars with children caught in the middle.

Right here at home we witness children being caught in the middle of gunfights between warring gangs, with parents failing miserable in their duties to fulfil their obligations to guarantee their children’s fundamental rights.

Around the world girls continue to pay the heaviest price of conflict and environmental disasters. Millions of girls continue to be denied the basic right to education. From the corners of the third to first world, many are still being trafficked, enslaved and sexually exploited.

The birth of a girl in many parts of the world signals the dawn of a life of misery, pain and suffering, despite the numerous advances made in science and technology.

The growing disparity between rich and poor nations spells continued discrimination and denial of the rights of millions of children around the world.

While the day of observance might be behind us, it is important for continued advocacy to ensure that all of the world’s children is secure socially, economically and politically.

Every child deserves a fair chance to realise their maximum human potential; a chance to be empowered to make their rightful contribution to help repair and recalibrate a global order that is characterised by inequality, inequity, discrimination and social injustice.

They deserve the hope of a better tomorrow where their choices can be expanded, and their self-worth given the opportunity make a difference.

From the walls of the nation’s schools to the corridors of power, the voices and cries of children must be heard. Action and advocacy must not be limited to a day’s observance.

The global observance must serve as a reminder to the adults of their obligation to safeguard and secure the future of our nation and global community. In the prophetic words of calypsonian Merchant, we must, “Think about the children, not later, right now.”

The landscape around us is replete with too many instances of children being abused verbally, emotionally, physically and sexually.

Too many parents are failing in their obligations, responsibilities and duties to not just provide basic necessities for their children but to give them the moral compass to navigate an increasingly competitive and uncertain world. World Children’s Day is an opportunity to ponder and reflect, maybe even recalibrate.


"Observing World Children's Day"

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