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In the past, children were all too often viewed more as property than people. Many victories for children's rights have been won in the last 100 years, such as child labor laws, protecting children from having to work long hours in unsafe conditions; public education, allowing all children to have access to learning; and laws preventing child abuse. On November 20, 1959, the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child spelling out specific rights to which all children should be entitled, and on the same date in 1989 the UN adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, creating a legally binding agreement on rights for children.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified faster and by more member nations than any other international human rights treaty. 192 countries have agreed and only 2 have refused - the United States and Somalia. The Convention details the rights of all children (under 18), ranging from protection from abuse and exploitation, to the rights to education and health services, and the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives.

There is still much to do in protecting children's rights around the world. 40 million children below the age of 15 suffer from abuse and neglect; 180 million children are forced to work in the worst child labor conditions, 300,000 children are forced to be soldiers and over 1.2 million children are trafficked as prostitutes.

In 2000, world leaders agreed to reach specific targets to 8 Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The goals range from providing universal primary education, to stopping the spread of HIV and eliminating poverty. 6 of these goals relate directly to children.

Universal Children's Day is celebrated on November 20 to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration and Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is a day to show children that they are valued members of society, and remind us that children need love and respect to grow to their full potential. It is an opportunity to increase awareness about the Convention on the Rights of the Child and to remind governments to live up to their promises to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

"There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace." -- Kofi Annan



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DO ONE THING for a Better World

1. Find out more about the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

2. Hold an event to raise awareness about children's rights.

3. Support UNICEF and other organizations working for the needs of children.

4. Urge leaders to honor their pledge to meet the MDGs.


Universal Children's Day
Universal Children's Day
Human Rights Education Associates: Children's Day
Youth Zone: Universal Children's Day
UN Days & Years Meditation Initiative

Children's Rights
Declaration of the Rights of the Child
Convention on the Rights of the Child

Global Movement for Children
UN Works for Children
UN Global Issues - Children
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights - Children

Changing The Present: Children & Youth
Child Rights Information Network
Children's Defense Fund

Children Now
Free The Children
The National Youth Rights Association
Save The Children

World Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child



Universal Children's Day

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Children's Day - November 20

Clay Aiken

Kofi Annan

Drew Barrymore

Harry Belafonte

Carol Bellamy

Dr. Walden Bello

Grace Lee Boggs

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Elise Boulding

Richard Branson

Jeff Bridges

Pierce Brosnan

Pearl S. Buck

Charlotte Bunch

Lauren Bush

Gabriel Byrne

Pablo Casals

Jackie Chan

Judy Collins

John Conyers

Sheryl Crow

Jane Curtin

Ted Danson

Doris Day

Naomi Drew

Marian Wright Edelman

Hector Elizondo

Ralph Fiennes

Laurence Fishburne

Mohandas Gandhi

Melinda Gates

Danny Glover

Whoopi Goldberg

Antonio Guterres

Muhbub ul-Haq

Dorothy Height

Audrey Hepburn

Dolores Huerta

Hubert Humphrey


Scarlett Johansson

Angelina Jolie

Danny Kaye

Liya Kebede

Robert F. Kennedy

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Azim Khamisa

Nicole Kidman

Craig Kielburger

Marc Kielburger

David Krieger

Dennis Kucinich

Jessica Lange

Dr. Lee Jong-wook

Tea Leoni

Astrid Lindgren

Lucy Liu

Dr. Bernard Lown

Graca Machel-Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Colman McCarthy

Country Joe McDonald

George McGovern

Ewan McGregor

Margaret Mead

Nina Meyerhof

Alyssa Milano

Maria Montessori

Roger Moore

Lucretia Mott

Nana Mouskouri

Dikembe Mutombo

Holly Near

Liam Neeson

Barack Obama

Edward James Olmos

Olara Otunnu

Sarah Jessica Parker

Landon Pearson

Utah Phillips

Joaquin Phoenix

Pablo Picasso

Brad Pitt

Natalie Portman

Dith Pran

Benjamin Quinto

Bonnie Raitt

Jose Ramos-Horta

Ocean Robbins

Debbie Robins

Anita Roddick

Meg Ryan

Jeffrey Sachs

Malika Sanders

Susan Sarandon

Claudia Schiffer

Patricia Schroeder

Kyra Sedgwick

Roy Sesana


Martin Sheen

Maisie Shiell

Lateefah Simon

Juan Somavia

Dr. Benjamin Spock

Rudolf Steiner

Marlo Thomas

Emma Thompson

Ted Turner

Desmond Tutu

Peter Ustinov

Abdoulaye Wade

Alice Waters

Rachel Weisz

Paul Wellstone

Kanye West

Bradley Whitford

Betty Williams

Oprah Winfrey

Joanne Woodward

Rosalyn Yalow

Howard Zinn

Front Cover

Back Cover


Do One Thing Calendar

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Kids | Youth | Adults | Calendar | Quotes | Heroes | Stories | The EMILY Fund | Scholarships
DO ONE THING and BetterWorld Kids Clubs are projects of The EMILY Fund (The Emily Silverstein Fund, Inc.)
Hero portraits are included for illustration purposes only - no celebrity endorsement implied

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