Universal Children’s Day, celebrated annually on November 20th, commemorates the date when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is universally recognized as the most far-reaching human rights treaty on children’s rights and has been ratified in every country excluding the United States. The United Nations notes that the purpose of Children’s Day is to “promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and [improve] children’s welfare.” Events promoting awareness of rights-based issues take place internationally with children filling leadership roles and participants educating others about the purpose of the day.
As a graduate assistant for the Center for the Human Rights of Children, I typically choose to celebrate Children’s Day by educating others about the importance of upholding children’s rights, in general, and informing them about the United States failure to ratify the CRC. However, with this Children’s Day, I am opting to inform others of a more focused example of children’s rights violations – mainly, the mistreatment of some of the world’s most vulnerable children, immigrant children currently detained due to proposed changes to the Flores Settlement.
The Flores Settlement refers to a federal agreement, which offered a set of protections and standards rooted in child welfare principles disallowing the detention of children and families for longer than 20 days. Currently, the Trump Administration is seeking to overturn the Flores Settlement and, consequently, the associated protections for immigrant children and families. This could potentially result in the indefinite detention of those detained, and could also severely limit the standards for detention facilities. Researchers and practitioners alike posit that detaining children for any period of time is detrimental to their wellbeing (physical health, mental health, educational access, social and emotional learning etc.) and violates their rights. Consequently, several children’s rights organizations, including the Loyola’s Center for the Human Rights of Children, have contributed public comments about this regulation expressing their concerns.
While the public comment period has ended for proposed regulations to “Flores,” it is imperative that we do not forget about these children and their families as we approach Children’s Day. We must continue to advocate for their rights until they are restored.
To sign a petition to call on world leaders to commit to fulfilling the rights of every child and acknowledge that their rights are non-negotiable, click here.
Follow #WorldChildrensDay on social media to keep updated with statements on Children’s Day across the globe.
To learn more about the Flores settlement: