19 November 2019

By: Isabela Zaleski Mori


Source: UNICEF

World Children’s Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children's Day and is celebrated on 20 November 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. This year is extra special, marking the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is one of most widely ratified international human rights treaties, with 197 countries having signed or ratified the convention[1]. The CRC is a human rights treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social, health, and cultural rights of children, 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. The document deals with child-specific needs and rights, requiring all nations that ratify it are bound to it by international law, and must act within the best interests of the child.

World Children’s Day is a day to celebrate children, and at the same time to bring awareness on the issue of children still being subject to violence, abuses, exploitation and discrimination. In establishing this day, the UN General Assembly recommended that all countries institute a World Children’s Day to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. 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.

Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) recognizes the urgent need to support and assist children to improve their lives through a healthy upbringing and by empowering them to become active members of society. Both parents and communities play key roles in shaping children’s development and their understanding of our global society. It is critical for governments to provide the necessary support and protection for children, their parents, and their communities to provide children with their best opportunity to grow into strong, educated, and empathetic leaders in the future.

It is important to highlight that children are the ones suffering most from the ongoing wars, and find themselves displaced and suffering physical and psychological traumas due to armed conflict. Therefore, GICJ calls on governments, communities and families to take all necessary measures to ensure the appropriate protection and education of children based on their level of development and regardless of their environmental circumstances, especially children growing up in conflict-torn areas.

GICJ is deeply concerned about children who are exploited and abused. Exploitation in many forms – such as child prostitution, child labor, and child soldiers – is still common around the globe. We call on the international community to prioritize child protection and to put an end to these gross human rights violations.

Finally, we urge all governments, communities, schools and families to use World Children’s Day in order to educate children about their rights and encourage them to learn about the world. As tomorrow’s leaders, today’s children need and deserve our greatest care and attention.

Learn more about the World Children’s Day here.


[1] In total, 196 states have ratified the treaty and one state (the United States) has signed but not yet ratified it.

*Intro Image Source: UNICEF


Keywords: World Children’s Day, Children, UNICEF, Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNCRC, Declaration of the Rights of the Child, Justice, Geneva, Human Rights, Geneva4Justice.

Justice, Human rights, Geneva, geneva4justice, GICJ, Geneva International Centre For Justice 

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