November 20: Universal Children’s Day

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It should be a happy time.  But it isn’t.

“This year, I wish to emphasize the importance of ensuring that the commitments made by the international community to the world’s children are extended to a group of children who are often forgotten or overlooked: those deprived of their liberty,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Even sadder is the statement by Peter Salama, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.  “Twenty-six years ago today, the world made a solemn promise to the children of the world, to protect and promote their rights to survive and thrive, to learn and grow, to make their voices heard and to reach their full potential.

“But for children caught up in the different conflicts now gripping the Middle East and North Africa, that pledge – formalized in the Convention on the Rights of the Child — is being broken, day in and day out.

“Across the region, levels of violence are reaching unprecedented levels, tearing apart the social fabric of whole societies and bringing basic services and vital civic infrastructure to the point of collapse….”

The world remains a deeply unfair place for children in many countries.

And lost among the deafening clamor in politicizing the plight of the Syrian refugees, we forget that the U.S. is the only nation that has not yet ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Each of us has a moral responsibility to take some action on behalf of the children of the world.

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