By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Today is the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, an event sponsored by the United Nations (UN) every year on Nov. 20. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child in 1989.
At the end of his general audience on Nov. 18, Pope Benedict XVI spoke on behalf of children in anticipation of today’s anniversary.
“My thoughts go to all the children in the world, especially to those who live in difficult conditions and who suffer from violence, abuse, sickness, war or hunger,” he said. “I invite you to join in my prayer, and at the same time, I appeal to the international community to multiply efforts to offer an adequate response to the dramatic problems of children. All generous efforts must continue until the rights of children are recognized and their dignity respected.”
A universal Children’s Day was established 55 years ago by the United Nations in 1954 with the purpose of promoting the well-being of children. It was on this day in 1989 that the UN adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a global treaty which was ratified in 192 countries.
In 2000, world leaders agreed to several Millennium Development Goals concerning children ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015.
Even though these goals are for all humankind, they are primarily about children, says a special website set up to help people recognize the importance of this day.
For more information about the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, visit http://www.dayofprayerandaction.org/en/
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