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Universal Children's Day is worth celebrating this year

Flickr: Travel and Roll

I think it’s safe to say that children are a good thing in life. Even if you’re not a “kid” person, or if you don’t enjoy the tears and tantrums they seem to provide a lot of the time, I think it’s pretty difficult to say that children don’t deserve the right to a healthy and happy life. Unfortunately there are a lot of obstacles in life that prevent kids from having access to education, health, sanitation, and other essential human rights.

To focus this support for children, today is the official Universal Children’s Day! It’s all about celebrating the rights of children and promoting a global commitment to protecting those rights. On a day like today, it’s important to acknowledge the progress that has been made, so that we recognize the international efforts making an impact on children’s lives around the world.

Flickr: S Vivek

1. The Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1959 was one of the first steps in the right direction. It lists the human rights that every child should be able to enjoy universally.

2. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was put together in 1989 as a way to call on the international community to address issues of child exploitation and protect their rights.

3. Millenium Development Goal (MDG) 4 is to reduce child mortality. In strides to reduce the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds, we can be excited about the fact that the number of deaths has declined from 12.7 million to 6.3 million since 1990. That means that 17,000 fewer children are dying every day!

4. Increased access to measles vaccines has helped avoid 14 million children deaths.

Flickr: Julien Harneis

5. The push from MDG 6 to combat malaria has led to more children sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets in Sub-Saharan Africa. Between 2000 and 2010, three million children were saved from malaria.

6. While we’re talking about child health, we should take a moment to recognize Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, who have made children’s rights a priority. They are saving children’s lives by increasing access to immunization in poor countries.

7. Child labor has decreased by a third since 2000. The rate of girls forced to work decreased by 40 percent while the amount of boys fell by 25 percent.

Flickr: dmscvan

8. It has been particularly difficult to get rid of child soldier practices. But there have been some serious commitments taken to help eliminate child soldiers. For example, Myanmar’s government signed a Joint Action Plan to stop the recruitment and use of child soldiers. They also discharged 273 children from the military in the past year.

9. Chad is another country that has introduced legislation to prevent child soldiers. They established a law that mandates that every person receives a birth certificate as a way to combat recruiting underage children into the military.

10. In 1999, the level of enrollment in primary education was dismal. By 2010 however, developing regions reached 90 percent, which is awesome because more kids than ever are getting to go to school (though still mostly at a primary level).

Flickr: Plus45

11. Good news for the little girls in the world is that the gender gap is closing in youth literacy rates.

12. My girl Malala Yousafzai, has done a tremendous job sticking up for kids and young girls. In particular, by insisting that children everywhere deserve the right to an education. She’s bravely stood up on an international stage to tell her story of how the Taliban tried to keep her from going to school. And with a Nobel Peace Prize now under her belt, I’d say people are paying attention.

Flickr: Kenny (zoompict) Teo

So happy Universal Children’s Day! I think it’s a great day to celebrate because, as annoying as those tantrums might be, every kid deserves the right to live healthy and happy lives. Let us know in the “discussion” tab on the side how you’re celebrating the kiddos of the world today!

To support youth rights in celebration of Universal Children's day, submit your visual petition, your “selfie,” on so that young people’s rights and needs are prioritized and the perpetrators of violence are not free from punishment.


Alex Vinci