On November 20th, 1959 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the “Declaration of the Rights of the Child.” This declaration includes such principles as special protection by the law to enable children to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, and socially, in conditions of freedom and dignity; entitlement to a name and nationality; the benefits of social security; free and compulsory elementary education; first priority in receiving protection and relief; and protection from practices which may foster racial, religious and other forms of discrimination.
Thirty years later, on November 20th, 1989, the Assembly adopted the “Convention on the Rights of the Child.” These includes such conventions as, the definition of the status of “child,” protection from discrimination, societal protection, recognition of a child’s inherent right to life, and a child’s right to preservation of his or her identity, among many others.
This milestone date, November 20, is now an internationally recognized Universal Children’s Day, intended as a day dedicated to promotion of the objectives of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the welfare of children globally. In 2000, world leaders also developed the Millennium Development Goals, six of which are directly related to the universal welfare of children.
This year, JFCY is holding its Annual General Meeting to coincide with Universal Children’s Day. Join us at 7:30pm at The 519 Church Street Community Centre. We happy to announce that Cheryl Milne, LLB MSW– Executive Director at the University of Toronto’s David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights will be our guest speaker. Cheryl was previously a lawyer at JFCY for 17 years, and is currently the vice-chair of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC).
While there has certainly been much progress made in terms of universal children’s rights, there is still much work to be done. Children are one of society’s most vulnerable groups, and we must continue to advocate for the protection of their rights. This Universal Children’s Day, let us not only reflect on the immense progress that has been made, but also, chart the path we must continue to forge.
For more information on Universal Children’s Day click here!
This blog post was written by University of Toronto law student Rachel Kattapuram, a volunteer at JFCY on the PLE Team. All info was reviewed by a JFCY staff lawyer.