Caritas Athens

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20 NOVEMBER: CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD

 November 20 is dedicated to all the children across the globe on the occasion of the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

On the joint initiative of the Polish government and UNICEF, the UN unanimously adopted to put into effect a year later, the first global, legally binding code, based on the unquestionable need of every human being in the vulnerable age group under 18, to survive and to reach adulthood, fully achieving its potential, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, color, religion, age, disability, origin and social order.

Its 54 articles were ratified by 193 states, except for the USA and Somalia which did not grant legal status – though signing it – while Greece ratified it on December 2, 1992 with Law 2101/92, and included three main clusters of rights:

-Protection (from any form of abuse, exploitation, discrimination, racism and so on)

-Provisions (right to education, health, welfare, entertainment and so on)

-Participation (right to freedom of expression, information, spare time and so on)

In accordance with the Convention, basic principles are laid upon for the rights to special care, protection and wellbeing of children throughout their development, clearly stating that:

-All children are basically entitled to be children and have their needs covered with regard to food, water, house, parents, love, happiness, safety, care, health, peace, equality, play, education, equal treatment and to have their voices heard!

-All children have a right to life, survival and development

-Parents play the most significant role in raising children

-The family bears the responsibility to help their children in learning to exercise their rights and to ensure their protection

-Adults should do what’s best for their children. Their decisions should be shaped based on the consequences on them

-The state bears the responsibility to ensure and protect children’s rights. It should help any family to protect their children and to create an adequate environment to grow up and fully develop.

Let’s hope that this day sets a new chapter in the life of children across the globe! To be able to look them in the eyes and see a soul that laughs full of happiness and faces with innocence and carelessness their childhood!

Let’s remind “adults”, to respect the “underage” for what they are: children! So that we all start living in a world more human, fair and peaceful. A world where today’s children will raise their children. And above all let’s keep in our minds that children’s wellbeing today is inextricably linked to future global peace!