By:- Amir Iqbal Khan
For most of us who live with our parents in safe and comfortable environments, the World Children’s Day passes by unnoticed, as we go about our lives where we always have food on our table, money in our pockets, clean water to drink and doctors and medical care available for the slightest illness or injury. But many children in the world today live in war or disaster zones, or in environments which are hazardous or inflicted with epidemics of disease. Thousands of children are denied their rights for healthy and nutritious food, clean air and water, and education and safety and protection against crime.
Therefore, the World Children’s Day aims to raise awareness and funds for the millions of children that are denied their basic rights. The World Children’s Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children’s Day.
The UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1959, and then 30 years later it adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on that same day.
As per Beckham, Children everywhere dream of a better future.
“I have worked with UNICEF for almost 20 years and I have met children in all corners of the world, young people that have ambitions for a better education, a life free from disease and for peace. All children deserve the opportunity to reach their potential and I’m very proud to support the young people speaking up for change today.”
The convention, which is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty, lays out a number of children’s rights including the “right to life, to health, to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence, to not be discriminated, and to have their views heard”.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said Universal Children’s Day was “an annual opportunity to recommit ourselves to protecting the rights of every child”.
“These children are the future leaders of their societies. The future engines of their national economies. The future parents and protectors of the next generation.”
“When we protect their rights, we are not only preventing their suffering. We are not only safeguarding their lives. We are protecting our common future.”
As far world’s one of the largest Network site, Google marks the day with a Doodle in its search engines around the world, the UN children’s body, UNICEF, launched a short stories week to celebrate the day and to mark the agency’s 70th anniversary. More than 200 prominent writers penned “tiny stories” – each around seven lines long – to highlight Children’s Day and the challenges many of the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged children still face.
The sharp minded and God gifted children around the world are given the opportunity to display their inborn talent and bring it to the public notice by different crafting and presentation.
Among the writers is one the world’s youngest published authors – seven-year-old Michelle Nkamankeng from South Africa.
What Paloma Escudero, UNICEF spokesperson divulged to the world press quite sometime ago was that it became shocking to see that the lives of many children are still so heavily impacted by the horror of conflict, inequality, poverty and discrimination. ” I hope these Tiny Stories can remind the world that we must sustain our commitment to all of these children whose lives and futures are at stake.”
In many developed countries, children have never had it so good, with access to education, health care, the internet and much more. But millions more are facing unprecedented upheaval. More than 50 million children have been uprooted from their homes due to conflict, poverty and climate change while millions more face violence in their communities. According to the UN, around 263 million children do not attend school. In recent past, nearly six million children under five died from mostly preventable diseases.
A very gloomy picture is presented in respect of children in Syria who are living in fear every day. The relentless bombardment had forced schools in east Aleppo, many of which already operated from basements because of government attacks, to close on Saturday and Sunday “for the safety of students and teachers, after the barbarous aerial attacks. Staff were forced to evacuate children’s hospital because of repeated attacks, removing babies from incubators.
According to Anthony Lake-UNICEF executive Director, on this Children’s Day, we must confront the uncomfortable truth that around the world, the rights of millions of children are being violated every day.
On this World Children’s Day, a global day of action around the world, children hosted summits with leaders and decision-makers while governments renewed commitment to child rights. In a symbolic stand for child rights, famous landmarks around the world were lit blue.
Thirty years ago, against the backdrop of a changing world order — the fall of the Berlin Wall, the decline of apartheid, the birth of the world wide web — the world united in defence of children and childhood. While most of the world’s parents at the time had grown up under dictatorships or failing governments, they hoped for better lives, greater opportunities and more rights for their children. So, when leaders came together in 1989 in a moment of rare global unity to make a historic commitment to the world’s children to protect and fulfil their rights, there was a real sense of hope for the next generation. So how much progress have we made? In the three decades following the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in spite of an exploding global population, we have reduced the number of children missing out on primary school by almost 40 per cent. The number of stunted children under 5 years of age dropped by over 100 million. Three decades ago, polio paralysed or killed almost 1,000 children every day. Today, almost 100 per cent of those cases have been eliminated. Many of the interventions behind this progress — such as vaccines, oral rehydration salts and better nutrition — have been practical and cost-effective. The rise of digital and mobile technology and other innovations have made it easier and more efficient to deliver critical services in hard-to reach communities and to expand opportunities. Yet poverty, inequality, discrimination and distance continue to deny millions of children their rights every year, as 15,000 children under 5 still die every day, mostly from treatable diseases and other preventable causes. We are facing an alarming rise in overweight children, but also girls suffering from anaemia.
The stubborn challenges of open defecation and child marriage continue to threaten children’s health and futures. Whilst the numbers of children in school are higher than ever, the challenge of achieving quality education is not being met. Being in school is not the same as learning; more than 60 per cent of primary school children in developing countries still fail to achieve minimum proficiency in learning and half the world’s teens face violence in and around school, so it doesn’t feel like a place of safety. Conflicts continue to deny children the protection, health and futures they deserve. The list of ongoing child rights challenges is long.
The children of today, are facing a new set of challenges and global shifts that were unimaginable to parents. Our climate is changing beyond recognition. Inequality is deepening. Technology is transforming how we perceive the world. And more families are migrating than ever before. Childhood has changed, and we need to change our approaches along with it.
In the Indian scenario, the way the children even today are subjected to maltreatment and placed at a great disadvantage is something pointing towards concrete measures to be adopted to ward off the in-discrimination against these fore-runners of our generations. One of the most prevalent type of injustice is the “Child Labour” which is both bonded and also subservient type. The gap between haves and have nots is further becoming deep and alarming which in turn is responsible to cause the victimisation of children. Despite of abundant laws prohibiting child labour, the practice of engaging the children in labour is unabated in blatant violation of human rights. The child labour on public places is frequent and the enforcement agencies are just watching the situation as a site seers. The situation attains further formidable proportion when the children are seen working in hostile conditions of industries, construction sites, factories etc.
As we look back on 30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we should also look ahead, to the next 30 years.The main problems that are confronted to the children and what they need world across include the following:-
Clean water, clean air and a safe climate.
One in four of them are likely to live, and learn, in conflict and disaster zones.
We must make it convenient to talk about mental health.
Over 30 million have migrated from the place of birth.
Thousands of them will officially never exist, unless we act.
You need 21st century skills for a 21st century economy.
Your digital footprint must be protected.
Their’s might be the least trusting generation of citizens ever
Amir Iqbal Khan is a freelance journalist from Bhadarwah and oftenly writes for Kashmir Canvas..