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In 1954, November 20 was established as World Children’s Day, and it is celebrated as such every year. However, despite many pledges of world leaders to protect children and preserve their rights, millions of children are still suffering every day.

November 20 was established in 1954 as World Children’s Day “to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare,” according to the United Nations (UN). The choice of November 20 is highly symbolic, as is often the case with UN and international days: on November 20, 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and, on the same day in 1989, it adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child consists of ten principles adopted by the UN General Assembly in A/RES/14/1386 and its purpose was to reaffirm that children are entitled to protection and to enjoy the same universal rights and freedoms which had been recognized as universal only years prior. It also affirms children’s right to receive an education, as well as their protection from every form of discrimination.

Thirty years later, the General Assembly approved the Convention on the Rights of the Child (A/RES/44/25), a stronger and longer document (it consists of 54 Articles), and one with a much broader reach. It lays out a number of responsibilities directly for States parties, and it explores the principles set forth in the 1959 Declaration. It can be seen as a pledge made by world leaders to children all over the world to protect their childhood and it has become the world’s most widely ratified human rights treaty with 196 parties (though the United States are notably absent from the list).

Despite these and other pledges and commitments to children and to the preservation of their rights and their childhood, there are significant discrepancies in the enjoyment of these rights in different parts of the world. For instance, while it is normal for children in the Global North to be allowed to receive an education (at least until secondary school), it is not always as easy for children in other areas of the world.

Wars often disrupt children’s lives by taking their parents, their stability, their education and their future. In many instances, wars force children to take part in the hostilities (child soldiers) or take their livesClimate change threatens the future and livelihood of children all over the world.

So, as the world celebrates World Children’s Day, it is important to keep in mind that everyone still bears and individual as well as a shared responsibility to protect every child.

Veronica Zanetta Brandoni

Veronica, originaria della provincia di Novara, si è trasferita a Roma per frequentare la triennale in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) alla LUISS. Dopo un semestre passato a Macao, Cina, e la fine del percorso triennale nel luglio 2019, si è trasferita a New York, USA, per frequentare un Master alla New York University (NYU) in International Relations and International Law. Si è laureata nel maggio 2021 con una tesi sulla giustizia per vittime di violenze sessuali in ambito di genocidio e crimini contro l'umanità.
Nel novembre 2020 ha iniziato a lavorare per una ONG no-profit basata a Washington, DC, e che opera principalmente in Siria, in Turchia e negli USA, la Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), dove attualmente è Advocacy Director.
Veronica ha iniziato a scrivere di diritto internazionale per IARI nel marzo 2021, passando in redazione nel settembre dello stesso anno.

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