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"We were all children once. And we all share the desire for the well-being of our children,
which has always been and will continue to be the most universally cherished aspiration of humankind."

—From We the Children: End of decade review of the follow-up to the World Summit for Children.

“Children are both the present and the future of every nation,
they have needs, rights, and intrinsic worth that must be recognized and supported.”

—From the Association for Childhood Education International’s Global Guidelines

About Universal Children’s Day

Childhood is “entitled to special care and assistance.”
All children “shall enjoy the same social protection.”
– Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On 14 December 1954, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that recommended that all countries institute a Universal Children's Day.  The resolution advised that the Day should be devoted to activities promoting the ideals and desires of the world for the welfare of the children. The General Assembly suggested to governments that the Day be observed on the date that each country considers appropriate.  Although some nations select different days to recognize children, November 20th is often selected as Universal Children’s Day since this date marks the day on which the General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989. Universal Children’s Day is also widely chosen as a day to recognize and celebrate the life stage of childhood in general.

This year marks with 25th anniversary of the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which identified children as human beings with a distinct set of rights, instead of as passive objects of care and charity.


• Begin organizing your school or community NOW to celebrate children, their voice, and how they are supported on Universal Children’s Day!

• Seek out local human rights platforms, such as committees and commissions, to learn and work together toward directly supporting children’s rights in your community.

• Write an op-ed to your local paper about Universal Children’s Day and how your community can include the voice of children.


• Shift your perspective by considering how issues and events directly affect the lives of children in your city or community. For example, how are children impacted by major upheavals and breakdowns in support networks as a result of foreclosure and evictions due to the housing crisis?  What happens to children during times of conflict or natural disaster?


• Every child should be seen, heard, loved, and taught. Promote the needs and rights of children on Universal Children’s Day and every day by participating in the Love Me, Teach Me campaign.

Take the Pledge and engage in the Decade for Childhood, a 10-year initiative that supports a global conversation about children, childhood, and child rights by sharing knowledge and considering best policies and practices.


• Consider joining childhood professionals, educators, and advocates at the next Global Summit on Childhood in 2016. How can you contribute to this event in support of child rights?



Nearly half (approximately 1 billion) of the world’s children live in urban areas and are often affected by the stresses of rapid urban growth, such as inadequate infrastructure, resources, services, and housing.



In 2010, nearly 8 million children died before reaching the age of 5 from pneumonia, diarrhea, or birth complications.


Approximately 1,000 babies per day are infected with HIV through mother-to-child transmission.



Children who are impacted by the forces of migration, particularly those without documents, are marginalized and suffer from exclusion due to their inability to access public services, legal protection, health care, and education.  The effects of abandonment and displacement also leave them socially and emotionally isolated.


A weak economy and rising food and fuel prices have a devastating effect on children living in poverty, where 50-80 percent of family income is spent on food—leaving very little for housing, education, and medicine.



An estimated 22 to 50 percent of the 2.5 million people worldwide who have been trafficked into forced labor are children.


1954 Resolution declaring the desire to have all nations institute a universal children’s day

Declaration on the rights of the child November 20th, 1959

United Nations Convention on the Rights on the Child, November 20th, 1989