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, and awareness among children worldwide, and to improve children’s welfare.
On November 20th we celebrate the most important milestones in the history of child rights:
- Adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child by UN General Assembly in 1959.
- Adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the UN General Assembly in 1989.
- The adoption of both the Declaration and the Convention on children’s rights by the UN General Assembly in 1990.
At Defence for Children International, we promote and protect the human rights of children at the local, national, regional, and international level, and were one of the drafters of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.
The Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG CAAC) reports that there are around 250 million children living in conflict-affected nations. The report of the past ten years reveals that at a global level there are more than 170 000 grave violations verified by the United Nations.
Defence for Children International and its national sections have been active in Central African Republic to support survivors of rape, and to demobilise and reintegrate children associated with an armed force or armed group in the conflict-affected regions of Bouca and Kaga-Bandoro. In Colombia, the rates of recruitment of children are increasing despite the peace agreements made. In Yemen, it is a living hell for children with the war ongoing since 2014. In Palestine, children are brutally detained, killed and maimed in the Palestine-Israeli conflict.
Children everywhere should be considered key partners in putting an end to all forms of violence. Therefore, in 2022, DCI published the Children in War report, a publication that listened to children’s concerns regarding meaningful participation, as well as providing them with safe pathways. Through consultations with children in countries affected by conflicts, DCI reinforced its position regarding the importance of children’s participation. Children have an in-depth understanding of how conflict has affected their lives, their protection, and their possibilities of influencing change.
The scale and gravity of violence against children in armed conflict calls for immediate and concerted action by the United Nations, states, donors, the humanitarian community, researchers, and civil society to meet their obligations to ensure children are safe from harm. We need to: (1) Increasing children and youth participation in the inter-governmental space (2) Realising the potential of children and young people within the UN system (3) Engagement and mobilisation of children and young people (4) Enhance accountability for war crimes and transparency in reporting.
Layla Kaylif, as our ambassador for Children Affected by Armed Conflict, has composed this song called “Stop War on Children”, together with a video message highlighting the importance of advocating and defending all children whose rights are violated around the world including those living in conflict zones. Layla Kaylif is a London-based British singer-songwriter. Born in Dubai to an English mother and Arab father, Layla came to the public’s attention in 1999 when her song Shakespeare in Love became a hit in South East Asia and the Middle East.
World Children’s Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights, translating messages into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for children. DCI wants to emphasise the need to keep supporting children, so they become actors for justice.
We would greatly appreciate it if you could contribute in some form to supporting DCI’s work: Make a Donation – Defence for Children
If you want to read more about DCI’s activities around the world, check out DCI’s Annual Report 2021-2022.