Why Children’s Day matters

The right to a name is protected in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. A birth certificate ensures a child is recognized by their government.

The right to a name is protected in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. A birth certificate ensures a child is recognized by his or her government.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted in 1989, to help make sure every child in the world was able to develop to their full potential.

The same year that this Convention was adopted, the UN General Assembly suggested that all countries choose a day to promote the rights of its youngest citizens.

It has been nearly 25 years since then, and Universal Children’s Day is still marked annually on November 20. To celebrate the day this year, we’re going to give you five reasons why the Convention on the Rights of the Child is so important:

  1. It was the first time leaders of the world agreed that the term ‘children’ applied to everyone under 18.
  2. It was the first time that the world agreed on a set of specific, minimum standards for protecting children's rights.
  3. It asserts that all children have rights, regardless of their age, gender, race, religioun abilities, or economic status.
  4. It gives every child the right to safe water to drink , healthy food to eat, and a clean and safe environment.
  5. It states that every child has the right to a name that is officially recognized by the government, and an official record of who you are.


These are only five of countless reasons why this day is so important. For more background on this issue, take some time to read our CEO Rosemary McCarney’s reflections on how working for child rights is at the centre of what we do at Plan Canada.

  • All children have the right to what follows, no matter what their race, colour sex, language, religion, politics, or where they were born.

    All children have the right to what follows, no matter what their race, colour sex, language, religion, politics, or where they were born.

  • Children have the special right to grow up and to develop physically and spiritually in a healthy and normal way, free and with dignity.

    Children have the special right to grow up and to develop physically and spiritually in a healthy and normal way, free and with dignity.

  • Children have a right to a name and to be a member of a country.

    Children have a right to a name and to be a member of a country.

  • Children have a right to special care and protection and to good food, housing and medical services.

    Children have a right to special care and protection and to good food, housing and medical services.

  • Children have the right to special care if handicapped in any way.

    Children have the right to special care if handicapped in any way.

  • Children have the right to love and understanding, preferably from parents and family, but from the government where these cannot help.

    Children have the right to love and understanding, preferably from parents and family, but from the government where these cannot help.

  • Children have the right to go to school for free, to play, and to have an equal chance to develop.

    Children have the right to go to school for free, to play, and to have an equal chance to develop.

  • Children have the right always to be among the first to get help.

    Children have the right always to be among the first to get help.

  • Children have the right to be protected against cruel acts or exploitation.

    Children have the right to be protected against cruel acts or exploitation.

  • Children should be taught peace, understanding, tolerance and friendship among all people.

    Children should be taught peace, understanding, tolerance and friendship among all people.

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