Following World War II, the United Nations adopted its first Declaration on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1959. Included in it were 10 principles that began to outline the basic rights that children were entitled to. Thirty years later, on the same date in 1989, the Conventions on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the United Nations, which expanded the 10 principles to 54 declarations that identified not only the basic rights of children, but also protocols for how the rights should be implemented. It is legally binding and states that countries must act in the best interest of the child. To date, 193 countries have signed it and are now bound to it by international law. This includes all of the members of the United Nations, except two countries – the U.S.A. and Somalia.
Today, which is known in Canada as National Child Day, marks the 20th anniversary of the CRC. To learn more about how the CRC developed and how children are being treated around the world in present times, take a moment to watch the State of the World’s Children’s special edition video – 20 Years of Child Rights.
In our class, we have been learning about different individuals like Craig Kielburger from Ontario, Canada who at 12 years of age in 1995 laid the groundwork for his international organization Free the Children which inspires children to become agents of change around the world. Another organization, UNICEF, was created in 1946 by the United Nations to provide food, clothing and health care to children who faced famine and disease after the end of World War II.
In the next weeks that follow, we will be continuing to examine the challenges that globally face children and why the declarations within the CRC are needed. One of the questions we hope to investigate is: What can we do to help?
Division 2, carefully watch the video above – more than once if necessary. What do you notice about its two main characters? What thoughts come to mind when you watch this?
image: zoriah_photojournalist_war_photographer_kenya_child_children_poverty_poor_20090119_3316 by zoriah through Creative Commons license