recess radio program

Universal Children's Day
    by John Cech


This past week, during Childrenís Book Week, we have been hearing about the energizing power of books. But for there to even be books in our childrenís hands -- books to summon wonder, kindle curiousity, feed a hungry imagination, or soothe a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day -- some fundamental things should ideally be in place for all children.

The United Nations realized, soon after its founding, that it had to make some effort to guarantee children certain rights, just as governments granted them to their fully enfranchised, adult citizens. And so, over fourty years ago this week the UN announced its Declaration of Childrenís Rights, as an attempt to raise international consciousness and ultimately to effect international actions. This has since become the United Nationís Convention on the Rights of the Child. Tomorrow is the UNís Universal Childrenís Day, and every year at this time, we reflect on the fact that these rights are still so often and so sadly ignored. We would like to add what we can to the awareness of the need to continue to work to protect children around the world, in order to transform these ideals into realities.

Here, then, are those first Rights of the Child, read by the children of our area:

Brief sound clip

The right to affection, love and understanding
The right to adequate nutrition and medical care
The right to free education
The right to full opportunity for play and recreation
The right to a name and nationality
The right to special care, if handicapped
The right to be among the first to receive relief in times of disaster
The right to be a useful member of society and to develop individual abilities
The right to be brought up in a spirit of peace and universal brotherhood
The right to enjoy these rights regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national or social origin

Copyright 2004 © John Cech


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"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."