UN resolution 836(XI) 1954 ordained that all countries implement a Universal Children's Day annually. A day devoted to the promotion of the human rights, welfare and security of children. In the wake of Universal Children's Day in the UK on the 20th November, Restless Beings asks the question; Why just one day?
Children of the world today are exposed to diverse ranges of ill treatment and abuse; coerced into prostitution, recruited to work as child soldiers, denied basic education, used for child labour, forced into child marriage and even subjected to genital mutilation. Why do we devote just one day to the promotion of the rights of children when international abuses against this especially vulnerable group are rife? The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 was instituted to protect the rights of children and is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history. Yet children all over the world continue to be deprived of the very human rights promised by virtue of being exactly that. Human.
We devote one day to promoting the rights of children. Yet it is we who deprive these children of the very rights we promote. It is our politics, our wars, our protection of selfish interests which force our children into these situations of vulnerability, abuse and violence. Does this not expose our so-called devotion to children's human rights protection as the rhetoric it really is?
We have already established that these games of international power politics which our governments so freely delve in have resonating effects on vulnerable children and future generations. It is now, for those of us who are believers in change to compensate for our governments' impotence in accepting their responsibility in providing adequate protection for imperilled children. By standing up. By saying enough is enough. And by elevating the rights of children to the status they truly deserve. A status of dignity and respect.
The children of today are the change makers of tomorrow. The hope of a true voice for the voiceless.
How many days will you devote?
There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace.
-- Kofi Annan