Children; Our present and our future. An irreplaceable asset on which the future of our species lies, therefore creating a safe haven for children should be the responsibility of the community. Children’s day is a celebration of childhood and innocence, a day in which adults are encouraged to increase their understanding of children and to promote ideals such as children’s welfare and rights.The origin of Children’s day dates back to the second Sunday of June in 1857, Reverend Dr. Charles Leonard, a Pastor in Chelsea, Massachusetts held a special service dedicated for children. It was initially named Rose Day, later Flower Sunday, and finally Children’s day. During 1919 following the aftermath of the vicious World War 1, images of sick and malnourished children ran through europe. This inspired the creation of the “International Save The Children Union” by sisters Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton which in 1923 helped create and lobby for the Declaration of the Rights of the Child; this declaration was adopted by the League of Nations in 1924. This declaration only five statements long highlighted the vulnerability of children while giving responsibilities for adults to follow and was later adopted by the UN as the Declaration of Geneva on Children’s rights.
In 1929, The Republic of Turkey became the first nation to declare Children’s Day as a national holiday. The multiple child casualties from World War II resulted in the creation of the UN Fund for Urgency for the Children in 1947 which mainly focused on European child victims of the war and this consecutively became UNICEF achieving the status of permanent international organization in 1953, this broadened its horizons internationally creating child welfare programmes in developing countries. The Women’s International Democratic Federation in Moscow established the International Day for Protection of Children in 1950, this practice was followed by many communist countries of the time. Finally, In 1959 the General Assembly of the UN adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, a text which included 10 principles describing Child rights. This day is celebrated as the World Children’s Day in multiple parts of the world.
The year 1979 was declared as the International Year of the Child by the UN, a momentous year in which Poland proposes to create a working group within the Human Rights Commission and a change of spirit was felt worldwide as every country worked on creating a better world for children. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, a 54 article script based on child rights was adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly in 1989. This created a domino effect of child welfare as in 1990 The Convention on the Rights of the Child became an international treaty and entered in force and the African Charter for the Rights and Welfare of the Child was adopted by the Organization for African Unity. Further, in 1999 the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention is adopted and on 2002 the optional protocol to the International Charter of the Child Rights regarding the participation of children in armed conflicts is entered in force. Presently the International Charter of Child Rights has been signed by 190 states of 192.
Ideally, we would live in a time in which Children are given a life in which their rights are respected. But, according to the The International Labour Organization (ILO) as much as 218 million children are working as child laborers around the world. These Children are being exploited physically and mentally as they are given hazardous tasks with meager pay and in worst case scenarios forced to take part in slavery, drug trafficking, prostitution and armed conflict. These children are robbed from their happiness and opportunities to grow, go to school and play with friends. Therefore we should fulfill our responsibility as a member of society and help build our world into a safe haven for children. Protecting our present and our future.
Written by : Rtr. Hassan Nazeer Latiff
Thumbnail Designed by : Rtr. Sujana Tharmalingam