Celebrating 30 years of children’s rights in DPR Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPR Korea) ratified the CRC in September 1990.

Shima Islam
Shima Islam
20 November 2019

By Shima Islam, Communication Specialist, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office

Thirty years ago, today, global leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children with an international agreement on childhood, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

The Convention guarantees every child, no matter who or where they are, the same rights to education, health and happiness. Thirty years on, not every child gets to enjoy a full childhood. Too many childhoods globally are still cut short and not every child, has every right.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPR Korea) ratified the CRC in September 1990. UNICEF supported the Government of DPR Korea to mark the 30th anniversary of the CRC by organising a drawing competition for children on the theme “for every child, dreams”.

The competition attracted paintings from 200 children from all over the country and was judged by a panel, including: UNICEF, a local artist and partners from the Education Commission and Grand People’s Study House (central library in Pyongyang).  

There were 12 overall winners with the three top paintings from Hwang Gon (Jungsan primary school, Jungsan county, S. Pyongan), Kim Tae Yong (Rungna primary school, Taedonggang district, Pyongyang) and Ji Ryo Pyong (Jongju primary school, Jongju city, N. Pyongan) who are all 11 years old. They illustrated their dreams of becoming a painter, an agricultural scientist and a teacher.

“I want to become a good teacher,” said Ji Ryo Pyong.

“I want to become a good agricultural scientist, so that people can lead a better life,” said Kim Tae Yong.

“I want to become a good artist, so that I can become the best in the world,” said Hwang Gon.

The three top winners were invited to Pyongyang and awarded their prizes of professional painting sets and UNICEF memorabilia at a special event to celebrate children’s rights at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace on 20 November attended by local dignitaries and children.

“The CRC ensures that governments do their utmost to prioritise the wellbeing of children, so they can reach their full potential and are able to pursue their dreams.

“That is why we chose “my dream, my hope” as the theme of the drawing competition to mark this important anniversary. Through the paintings, we see dreams of enjoyment – through sports, music and friendship – but also dreams of contributing to society – as scientists, doctors and explorers of space.

“We congratulate all the children for sharing their dreams with us. UNICEF will continue to support the Government of DPR Korea in its effort to give every child, every right; of giving every child, dreams,” said Myo-Zin Nyunt, UNICEF Representative, DPR Korea.

The CRC was also observed in DPR Korea with its second National Child Health Day of the year (21-22 November), a day when 1.7 million children under five in DPR Korea receive a package of low-cost, high-impact, life-saving interventions delivered by the Ministry of Public Health.