Protecting the World’s Children From Discrimination on World Children’s Day

“Children make you want to start life all over.”

That was how Muhammad Ali felt about children.

Photo by Rido/

He wasn’t alone. Each year, on November 20, the United Nations sponsors World Children’s Day, a day dedicated to cherishing children. Most of the nations on Earth participate in that celebration in some way. It is, by the way, one of the few holidays that has its own flag.

Each year, on November 20, the United Nations sponsors World Children’s Day, a day dedicated to cherishing children. 

World Children’s Day has an interesting history, but then all history is interesting, and I won’t try to usurp the authority of Google or Wikipedia by relating it to you here.

What interests me is the Declaration of the Rights of a Child, ratified by the UN General Assembly in 1959. It is a ten-point document, a “bill of rights,” if you will, for a child. It includes principles such as:

  • “The child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality.”
  • “The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents…”
  • “The child is entitled to receive education…”

The fulfillment of each and every principle contained in this document would make the world a better place. 

But what really struck me was the last one, principle 10: “The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.”

That was written 62 years ago. Possibly the wounds of World War II were still fresh to mind. It is a remarkable statement. Imagine the condition of the world today if that principle had been universally adhered to when it was written.

That would be a world worth celebrating.

Leland Thoburn
Leland has been a Scientologist for 45 years. His writings have been published in numerous magazines and literary journals, including Foliate Oak Review, Writers’ Journal, Feathertale Review, Calliope, Vocabula Review and others. Formerly an executive at EarthLink Inc., he works as a business consultant.