Children are the future pillars of our nation. They are tomorrow’s politicians, scientists, doctors, architectures and teachers.They are innocent, admirable, and pure and loved by everyone. To increase the awareness of people towards the rights, care and education of childrenthe date of 20th November has been set to celebrate Universal Children’s Day all over the world.
Universal Children’s Day is celebrated every year with a lot of organized programmes including cultural and fun activities in many countries. Government and non-government organisations, schools, and private bodies conducts variety of competitionsas well as events for the children to let them know about their rights and make them happy and cheer.
History of the day:
It was the year 1954, when the General Assembly of the United Nations was first announced Universal Children’s Day to encourage children of all races, creeds and religions to spend time together, getting to know each other and appreciating each other’s differences, and to prompt governments world-wide to pay more attention to the welfare of their youngest citizens.
Three years later, on 20th November 1959 the United Nations General Assemblyadopted the ‘Declaration’ of the Rights of the Child. The 20th November is also a date when in 1989 the UN General Assembly adopted the ‘Convention’ on the Rights of the Child. Since 1990, Universal Children’s Day is celebrated as the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the declaration and the convention on children’s rights.
Fundamental rights of children:
Every child has right to feel safe regardless of his social value, and culture affinity. Every child should be protected from violence, abuse and neglect, exploitation and violence. Unfortunately in many countries including Pakistan child abuse takes place at home, in school, in institutions, at work, in the community, in armed conflict and natural disasters.
Children have right to live with prosperity, and should be protected from human trafficking. No child should be punished, humiliates, or insulted by adults.
The UNICEF defines child labour as some type of work performed by children below the age of 18. They should be protected from labour to earn money. Child labourcauses mental, physical, moral, and social harm.They should be nourished and cared very attentively especially by their parents. They should be given full time to enjoy their childhood and study in school. And, it is possible only when we protect them from child labour.
Every child has a right to get quality education, which helps him to develop his personality, talent, mental and physical abilities. All children must be able to go to school, and thereby benefit from the same opportunities for a secured future.
Education is a powerful tool to get rid of poverty. It ensures child survival, better growth, and development. Equal opportunity of education ends the social inequality. On average, one additional year of education can increase an individual’s earnings by 10 percent. Furthermore, girls’ education is particularly important for future generations. Better-educated women tend to be healthier than uneducated women.
Children who are disabled, either mentally or physically, have a right to special care and education so they can lead full and independent live.
Freedom of opinion:
All children have a right to be able to give their opinion when adults are making decisions about them. Parents should take child’s opinion seriously. It is their right to say what they think through speaking, writing, drawing etc. All children have a right to get information from TV, radio, newspapers and the internet, which should be appropriate of their age. It is parent’s responsibility to help children learn what is right and wrong.
Health and food:
All children have a right to good health and good quality health care. All children should have clean water, nutritious food and a clean environment so they stay healthy.All children have a right to a decent standard of living. It is the responsibility of government to support families who cannot afford to provide a decent standard of living for their children.
Violation against children rights:
Children around the world are facing poverty, disease, inequity,and mistreatment every day. Many are unable to get primary education. Millions are displayed from their native countries and many have been separated from their parents.According to the estimate of the International Labor Organisation (ILO), around 246 million children aged 5 to17 years are engaged in child labour around the globe and of these 179 million are employed in the most rigorous forms of labour.
In Pakistan, violation of children’s rights is common and many cases remain unnotified. Children are subjected to torture in work places and educational institutions, sexual exploitation and abuse in urban areas in general and the rural areas of Pakistan in particular.
“Many children never see the inside of a classroom. Others drop out because their classes are overcrowded or their teachers poorly trained.”
In Pakistan, one child in six dies before the age of five. The nutritional status of children is very poor: 35% of them are underweight; more than 50% suffer from stunted growth, and around 9% from emaciation. Each day, around 1,100 Pakistani children less than five years old die from diarrhea and illnesses related to water, sanitation, and hygiene.
There are around 11 million children performing domestic tasks and working in agriculture. Other children work in the textile industry (specifically, making carpets), construction, or even the automotive industry. Children in carpet factories sometimes work up to 20 hours a day, 7 days a week. Very often, sleeping, eating, and working are all done in the same place.
It is believed that only 20% of sexual abuse cases are reported in Pakistan. We can make lasting change in a child’s life by helping provide nutrition and health, childhood development and education. Parents need to be aware about the importance of both, children and their childhood. They must understand about the importance of education in their children’s life and their role in the nation’s development.