National Child Day

National Child Day marks the anniversary of the U.N. Convention On The Rights of the Child.

When Canadians celebrate National Child Day this November 20, they are marking an important date for children everywhere.

November 20th is the anniversary of two historic United Nations events - the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international agreement that applies to young people all over the world. Canada ratified the Convention in 1991.

Child Rights

The Convention is divided into four groups of rights:

   1. Children playing a part. This means including children in decisions, giving them the freedom to join with others, the freedom to express themselves and to receive information from many sources.
   2. Children reaching their potential. This includes the things children need to develop as best they can. This group of rights emphasises the importance of education, family, culture and identity in children's lives.
   3. Children living well. This includes the right to survival and basic needs - food, shelter, standard of living and health.
   4. Children being free from harm. This group of rights protects young children from many things, including abuse, neglect, economic exploitation, torture, abduction and prostitution.

The Convention is an important document because it provides guiding principles on how to see and treat children. It is a standard for ensuring children's healthy development in Canada and around the world.