World Children's Day
The day the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted
Convention on the Rights of the Child
World Children's Day is celebrated every year on 20 November, because on this day in 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted. As an international document of the United Nations, the Convention contains universal standards that States must guarantee for every child. The Convention was signed by 196 countries, making it the fastest and most widely accepted agreement in the field of international human rights in history. In this way, the world promised that all children would be guaranteed equal rights and that it would do everything to protect and ensure their rights to survive, develop, learn and reach their full potential, without discrimination.
Thirty-four years ago, the world united in its desire to create a world fit for children. A world in which every child would have the opportunity to grow, learn, develop their abilities and talents, grow up in a family, and be safe and protected.
At a time when the world order was changing, the Berlin Wall was falling, and with the birth of the internet – the world united in defending children and childhood. On 20 November 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international instrument recognising the rights of children throughout the world. The Convention was signed by 196 States, making it the fastest and most widely accepted human rights agreement in history. The
Government of the Republic of Croatia passed a special decision stating that further to the notification of succession from the former state, Croatia was to be regarded as a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child as of the date of its independence, 8 October 1991.
Before the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, there was no widespread acceptance of the fundamental link between the wellbeing of children and the power of the societies in which they live. This is why the Convention is such an important milestone. The Convention is the first document in which the child is regarded as a subject in his or her own right, and not just as a person in need of special protection. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a legal act with the force of a law, binding the parties to comply with its provisions, and includes the right of supervision of its implementation in the States that have accepted and ratified it.
Children's rights have no expiry date. They are universal and unending. Children are our future, but their future begins now. Each generation is an opportunity to build the foundations of a new, better world. An opportunity we must not miss. An opportunity to create a world worthy of the child.
Children's rights are rights that protect all persons under the age of 18. They indicate what every child should have or can do. Every child has the right to education, health care, food, play, protection, and more. Children's rights should ensure that every child has the opportunity to achieve the best they can. All the rights are interconnected and are equally important. Apart from the fact that our rights belong to us because we were born with them, it is equally important that we respect the rights of others.
Voices of children and young people in designing the future
Today, there are 1.8 billion young people in the world, who make up a quarter of the world's population. Young people have a huge potential to contribute to social, political, and economic development. We have a responsibility to work with them as partners and drivers of change.
Children and young people are raising their voices on issues that are important to their generation – from climate to mental health, education, discrimination, violence – and they are calling on adults to respond. Children and young people have a different perspective from that of adults and bring new and creative solutions to the problems the world is facing, and which they experience as they grow up.
The participation of children and young people is one of the foundations of civil society. Besides exercising the rights guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, creating the conditions for the voice of children and young people to be heard and respected contributes to the visibility of children and young people as an important social group and to the perception of children as holders and active users of their rights.
How UNICEF marks World Children's Day 2023
An important part of UNICEF’s mission is to provide children and young people with platforms that empower them, to support them in advocating for issues that affect their lives, and to connect children, young people, and decision-makers. We have a responsibility to work with them as partners and bearers of change for today and tomorrow.
We want to support children and young people in speaking out, to help make their opinions better heard and inspire good practices that encourage the engagement of children and young people as advocates and creators of solutions.
Through various formats want to publish and disseminate their messages and reflections on topics that are important to them, their visions of the future and potential ideas for solving some of the social problems they face as they grow up.