Children form a section of society that have been heavily hit by the COVID-19 global pandemic. From having high susceptibility to the disease, schools shutting down, having to adjust to a ‘new life’ in relation to measures put in place to curb the spread of the novel virus and many other factors; there is no doubt that this year 2020 has not been particularly easy for most children around the world.
In 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which seeks to protect the individual fundamental human rights of children, to transform them and allow them to flourish with dignity. The date was 20th November 1959. Prior to this, the United Nations had established the celebration of what was then known as the “Universal Children’s Day” to be commemorated yearly on 20th of November. Another significant milestone that was chalked in 1989 was when again on the same day, the United Nations General Assembly finally adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Albeit, there are previously recorded histories of World Children’s Day, with the most widely accepted being that of Dr. Charles Leonard’s establishment of “Rose Day” which was celebrated in the second week of June, started from 1857, and later renamed “Children’s Day”.
In spite of the varied information available about the genesis of commemorating the day, the common theme that runs through each celebration has got to do with the welfare and protection of children’s right all around the world. All 17 of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have child related indicators which have bearings on the wellbeing of every child.
This year, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), previously known as the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund is rallying the world to “reimagine a better world for every child.” With a line up of activities from children ‘taking over’ spotlight roles in media, politics, business, entertainment and sports to landmark buildings around the world lighting up blue; there will be no shortage of innovative awareness campaigns to celebrate the annual day.
According to UNICEF, a total of 182 countries would be part of this year’s celebration. It goes on to state that World Children’s Day 2020 will be:
- “A major moment to encourage a sustainable recovery – and acknowledge the critical role children and young people need to play.
- A day to highlight children’s solutions to the climate crisis and amplify their voices to invest in their futures and build back better and greener.
- A day to listen to children and young people, working alongside them to design a better future.”
This year alone, a situation of child rights crisis has been created as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which needs to be addressed immediately so that they will not become problems that will eat into our society to last a lifetime. You can also do your bit by creating awareness about World Children’s Day and beyond that being part of the campaign to allow our children to reimagine a better world.
By: Theresa R. Fianko
Additional Information from: https://www.unicef.org/