Brussels, 13 December 2021 (TDI): The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) celebrates their 75 years of working tirelessly for child rights and for the better future of every child wherever they live, on the 13th of December.

History of the Child Rights

During the period of the twentieth century, children’s rights were not valued, and no standards were available for their protection. They would work along with adults in unsafe conditions.

Eventually the growing injustice was recognized which led to a movement to better protect them. Over the past century, the International Standards of Child Rights developed and were adopted gradually.

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Timeline of Child Rights:

1924: The League of Nations adopted the Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child, which articulated the rights of children for people who owe children, including all their fundamental and basic rights.

1946: The United Nations General Assembly established UNICEF for children all around the world.

1948: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was passed by the United Nations. In the declarations, Article 25 narrated for mother and children for their special protection.

1959: The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child included the children’s right to education, play, a supportive environment, and health care.

1966: The United Nations assured the equal rights of education and protection of all children.

1968: The International Conference on Human Rights was held to appraise the progress in the last 20 years after adopting Universal Declarations of Human Rights.

1973: The International Labour Organization adopted Convention 138, which allows a minimum of 18 age for work undertaking.

1974: The Declaration on protecting Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict was observed by the General Assembly, which prohibits attacks against civilian women and children during armed conflicts.

1978: A Commission on Human Rights puts a draft Convention draft on the Rights of the Child for attention by the Member States, agencies, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

1979: The United Nations General Assembly declares 1979 as the International Year of the Child.

1985: The United Nations Standards Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice provides the ethics of the justice system to promote the best interest of the child.

1989: The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on Rights of the Child was adopted which recognized the roles of children as political, economic, civil, and cultural actors.

1990: The World Summit for Children was held which outlined the strategies for preventing children from indulging in criminality.

1999: The International Labour Organizations (ILO) adopted the Worst Form of Child Labour Convention which prohibits from doing any work that could be harmful to the health, safety, and morals of children.

2000: The United Nations General Assembly adopted the two Optional Protocols which prohibit the undertaking of children during armed conflicts and eliminate the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.

2010: The status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child issued by the United Nations General Assembly.

2011: A new Optional Protocol adopted which allows the Committee on the Rights of the Child to field complaints of the child rights.

2015: The Convention was ratified by 196 States except the United States to date.

What was the need for UNICEF? 

In the wake of World War II, after reviewing the repercussion of war conditions, the United Nations General assembly established UNICEF. It has been at the vanguard to deal with the humanitarian crisis, armed forces, and disasters.

UNICEF Aim:

The aim of this organization was to protect the lives of children and young people who were at risk. The mandate was to help the children without acknowledging the role their country had played in the war.

Since then, UNICEF helped in advocating the protection of children’s rights, including fundamental rights, fulfilling their basic requirements, securing their future, and providing opportunities to exploit their full potential. UNICEF, therefore, has worked consistently to protect all children all around the world to date.

UNICEF Public partners

Government and private contributions funded the UNICEF’s activities. UNICEF public partners are governments, United Nations (UN) agencies, international financial institutions, and other multilateral organizations. The contributors together help countries to set agendas that concentrate on children’s rights and organize resources to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and UNICEF’s strategic plan.

The total contribution to UNICEF was around US$7 billion in 2020, including the US$5.45 billion from the public sector. However, the most important contributors were the United States (US$801 million), Germany (US4 744 million), and the European Union (US$514 million).

Convention on the Rights of the Child:

The Convention on the Rights of the Child guided the UNICEF programs in 1996. This acknowledges the right of all children around the world to enjoy the highest possible standard of health and treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health.

Role of UNICEF in Pakistan:

Since 1948, UNICEF works to promote and protect the rights and wellbeing of children and women in Pakistan. They have been bringing basic services, including education, health, nutrition, protection, water, sanitation, and hygiene to those who are most in need, addressing inequities in each of these areas. Therefore, UNICEF also provides humanitarian help during emergencies.

UNICEF is the only international organization to minimize child abuse. It prevents child labor under the convention on the Rights of the Child. It provides the opportunity for every child to get an education and live a perfectly healthy life. These children will pay a significant contribution in the future.

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