International Children's Day is celebrated in numerous countries worldwide on June 1.
The concept of a day for children is to bring worldwide attention to the importance and well-being of children. It was conceptualized at the `World Conference for the Well Being of Children', held in Geneva, Switzerland in 1925. However, few countries like Mexico, observe the day on some other day. Mexico observes it on April 30 every year.
Over the years this day has become more like an international fiesta, and in most countries celebrations are grand and splendid.
India commemorates its Children's Day on 14th November to honor the birth anniversary of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.
Awareness on Child Rights
The day not only celebrates children, but also appreciates the role children play in the future.
Children are the most vulnerable members of our societies. There are millions of children around the world who do not have education and are exploited in different ways. Children are forced to work in factories, on the streets and some are even sold as slaves. This vulnerable phase requires particular attention, support and protection.
Children in most parts of the world are still deprived of their basic rights. The most fundamental rights of children are violated even in the economically developed countries. They are easy targets for exploitation as they are dependent on adults for their development, usually unaware of their rights.
Despite the progress that has been made in recent years for the rights of children, the situation faced by them is still desperate. They suffer from poverty, homelessness, abuse, neglect, violence, preventable diseases, lack of access to education or substandard education. These problems occur in both developed and developing countries.
Rights of Children
Every child has a right to their childhood - existence free of violence, neglect, exploitation and poverty
Children need education, healthcare services, support as well as love, hope and encouragement. All these care and love are required to experience childhood to the fullest and eventually develop them into healthy and capable adults.
According to the United Nations charter on the Rights of the Children, all children are born with fundamental rights -
Child Rights in India
- Right to Survival - to life, health, nutrition, nationality
- Right to Development - to education, care
- Right to Protection - from exploitation, abuse, neglect,violation
Children in India account for more than one-third of its population, but child's rights have never been given priority and have been violated every single day.
An estimated 1.16 million children die every year within one year of their birth due to lack of immunization in India and more than two million children die every year from preventable diseases. More alarming data on children as per the UNICEF India data is as follows -
- Nearly 27% of deaths of children below 5 years are because of prematurity,
- 14% due to respiratory infections
- and 11% due to diarrhea.
Though healthcare is every child's right but the problem is lack of access to basic medical facilities and medicines. The need of the hour is to work towards promoting health in areas, where the poor children manage to survive.
Malnourishment in India among Children
It is estimated that 30% of the world's
children live in India. More than 40% of children who manage to survive beyond the age five are malnourished. Due to inadequate nutrition, children experience weight-loss, delays in development and other illnesses. Malnourished children are more prone to infections because of reduced immune levels. Besides this, poor nutrition affects growth and cognitive implications like low IQ scores, learning disabilities and impaired school performance.
Poverty Leading to Lack of Education
Around 7 million children in India below 14 years of age do not have access to quality education and approximately 50% of all children drop out before they complete their primary education. One of the main reasons behind school drop-outs in India is poverty as education is perceived as high-priced luxury.
Child Labor Problem in India
India has the largest number of child laborers in the world. Poverty, lack of social security and education are the main causes of child labor. Laws that are meant to protect children from hazardous labor are ineffective and not implemented correctly.
Children are the future of our society, so child rights must be ensured by the parents and the community which surround them. An efficient protection is essential for physical, mental and social well-being of all children. Government and private organizations work to promote children's rights. But much more needs to be done to enforce children's rights everywhere. It is everyone's responsibility to fight for children's right and welfare to help them lead safe and comfortable lives.