1. 6. 2010
International Children's Day
In 1924 the League of Nations adopted the first so-called Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child which anchored the fact that the child, because of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special guarantees, care and special legal protection before his births and after it.. In the next year the first World Conference on the Well-being of Children was held in Geneva which proclaimed 1 June as the International Children's Day
No less than two events, which from the very beginning contained the idea of priority of care for well-being of the child, fell on the first June day in 1925: the afore-mentioned World Conference in Geneva on Well-being of the Child and also the fact that the Chinese consul-general gathered number of Chinese orphans in San Francisco to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival.
The history of the International Children's Day has its roots as early as in 1920 when the founder of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Attatürk proclaimed on the occasion of the establishment of the National Assembly 23 April as the Children's Day. Attatürk loved children and the idea that "Children are a new Beginning of Tomorrow" became his credo. Turkey celebrates 23 April as the National Sovereignty and Children's Day.
In the Czech Republic, the International Children's Day was celebrated as early as in the period of the First Republic of Czechoslovakia. The editorial staff of Květy České - the magazine founded by the Czech writer and dramatist J.K.Tyl in 1834 - dedicated one issue in a year to children and adolescents and later to children on the occasion of the International Children's Day. At that time celebrations of the International Children's Day were organized in the form of various performances and shows and were mostly held at schools; their form and extent depended on the approach of the particular teachers.
1 June was officially adopted as the International Children's Day in 1950, similarly as in other communist states. In the framework of celebrations especially the right of children to life in peace, the right to health care and harmonious development were highlighted.
The 20th century is also called the Century of the Child and it is absolutely correct designation; it is a century when number of significant legal documents on well-being of the child were adopted, a century of world children summits that were held to identify current world problems which destroy childhood in various world regions.
Let us mention that the Convention of the Rights of the Child which was signed on 30 September 1990 in New York and ratified by the Federal Assembly of the Czechoslovak Federal Republic on 7 January 1991 (the ratification was devolved on both succession states as of the day of their establishment - 1 January 1993) defines for the first time the child as every human being bellow the aged of eighteen years. The definition of the age is important in particular in case of issues related to rights of the child to protection.
In the present world especially the protection of children against violence has become topical. Violence can have various forms - organized violence (war conflicts), home violence (physical, psychological, and sexual violence, neglecting children), but also their exploitation through child labour, commercial sexual abuse and such like. According to the UN Children's Fund UNICEFF, millions of children all over the world are endangered in this respect.
It is a sad thing the International Children's Day is also to remind us of the fact that the biggest tragedy in the world is the persistent lack of food, drinking water, health care and education for children. The Czech Committee for UNICEF is implementing number of projects which contribute to eliminations of these problems and improving children's situation all over the world.
From this view it might seem that Czech children have no problems and therefore celebrations of the International Children's Day are rather cheerful show full of games and entertainment. Nevertheless, it is necessary to realize that especially all forms of violence, lack of time of their parents, lack of respect to children, realizing their rights – in particular right to information, right to express their own views and attitudes, and to participate in solution of matters that essentially concern them - these are problems which Czech children are facing.
Although it might seem to be banal and insignificant in comparison with children living in some other countries, it is not like that. Our children are living here in these conditions and realizing their essential needs and rights will be decisive for well-being and quality of their lives and quality of our future.
The Committee for the Rights of the Child of the Government Council for Human Rights has prepared on the occasion of the International Children's Day in 2010 a meeting of children, who went down in the history of significant events, with the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Jan Fischer and the Government Commissioner for Human Rights Michael Kocáb. Winners of six categories of the competition "Child's Action of the Year", winners of ten categories "Golden Nut" and the child nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize will be invited as well.
The International Children's Day 2010 is celebrated in the time of launching the campaign of the Council of Europe Stop to the Sexual Abuse of Children and that is why this topic will became a principal issue of the meeting agenda of the Committee for the Rights of the Child of the Government Council for Human Rights held on 3 June 2010.
The United Nation Organization proclaimed, on the occasion of the anniversary of adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, 20 November as the Universal Children's Day. It is difficult to specify the difference; with a certain hyperbole it is possible to state that the Universal Children's Day is a day of all children's rights whereas the International Children's Day is perceived as a celebration of children and a reminder of necessity to adapt the run of public matters for the benefit of their well-being and for a better future of mankind.