Universal Children’s Day 20 November 2013
In accordance with Resolution 836 (IX) adopted on December 14th 1954 by the General Assembly of the UN, today the International Children’s Day is marked. On this date the International Declaration for Children’s Rights was adopted by member-states of UN on November 20th 1959 as an unbinding document, after which followed the adoption of the three Optional Protocols which bind the countries to promote and strengthen the national legal frame in order to provide better conditions and protection for children on a certain territory.
The need to protect the rights of children stems from the fact that they represent a highly vulnerable social group which can easily be exposed to abuse and violence. In accordance with UN, children are exposed to violence, exploitation, and victimization by adults on a daily basis, and also they are exposed to hunger and diseases and a lack of socio-economic conditions for a healthy and active life in the countries considered as impoverished or developing countries. An additional problem of children is the access to education which in many countries comes as a result of economic deprivation of the countries which creates a suitable environment for child labor and exploitation by practicing begging, work in factories and work in the illegal sexual industry. Undoubtedly one of the biggest problems which the world faces is child and organ trafficking, which is mostly present in areas where children have no conditions to obtain personal documents.
In the Republic of Macedonia, as well, children are faced with the danger to become victims of illegal children and organ trafficking, pandering and forceful sexual labor and exploitation of child labor by working on the street. As most vulnerable and at the same time marginalized group are the children from the Roma community that face problems regarding keeping Personal Registration Records of infants and issuing personal documents. The lack of personal documents places children in an unequal position and prevents them from having equal access to rights and freedoms. The biggest problem, however, one that should seriously worry us as a society is the abuse of the so called “phantom children” who have not been registered in the Personal Registration Records and have no personal documents and thereby are exposed to a high risk of kidnap, trafficking and abuse of child labor through the worst forms such as working on the streets (practicing begging and prostitution)
By opening daily centers for homeless children in 2004, the Republic of Macedonia took a step towards protecting the rights of this vulnerable group. However, the presence of children outside the educational system, as well as from the Personal Registration Records still presents an issue. This day is marked also as a reminder for the state that the protection of this vulnerable group should be a priority, as stated in the following message by the Secretary General of the UN stated on the World Summit for Children in 2001:
“We were all children once and we all share the desire for the well-being of our children, which has always been and will continue to be the most universally cherished aspiration of humankind”