United Nations Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954 and is celebrated on November 20th each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.
November 20th 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 General assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Since 1990, Universal Children’s Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General 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 can play an important part in making Universal Children’s Day relevant for their societies, communities and nations.
Universal 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.
By resolution 836(IX) of 14 December 1954, the General Assembly recommended that all countries institute a Universal Children’s Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. It recommended that the Day was to be observed also as a day of activity devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the Charter and the welfare of the children of the world. The Assembly suggested to governments that the Day be observed on the date and in the way which each considers appropriate. The date 20 November marks the day on which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.
The Convention, which is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty, sets out a number of children’s rights including the right to life, to health, to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence, to not be discriminated, and to have their views heard.
On the basis of the Convention and joint effort by all the countries and regions, let us promote and celebrate children’s right on the Universal Children’s Day, and continuously build up a friendly environment for children in the world through dialogue and actions.
This is a day for children, by children, all over the world to help save children’s lives, fight for their rights and help them fulfil their potential.
It’s going to be a fun day, with a serious message, when kids ‘take over’ high-visibility roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to shine a light on the most pressing challenges faced by their generation.
Find out more on UNICEF’s website.
Declarations and Conventions
- 2011: Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure (19 December 2011)
- 2007: Declaration of the commemorative high-level plenary meeting devoted to the follow-up to the outcome of the special session on children (13 December 2007)
- 2005: Guidelines on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime (E/2005/30 and E/2005/SR.36)
- 2002: A world fit for children (10 May 2002)
- 2000: Convention on the Rights of the Child: Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (25 May 2000, ANNEX I)
- 2000: Convention on the Rights of the Child: Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (25 May 2000, ANNEX II)
- 1999: Convention Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour，1999 (ILO Convention No. 182)
- 1990: United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of Their Liberty (14 December 1990)
- 1990: United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (The Riyadh Guidelines) (14 December 1990)
- 1989: Convention on the Rights of the Child (20 November 1989)
- 1986: Declaration on Social and Legal Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally and Internationally (3 December 1986)
- 1985: United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules)(29 November 1985)
- 1973: Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (ILO Convention No. 138)
- 1959: Declaration of the Rights of the Child (20 November 1959)