On 20 November 1959, the United Nations
adopted the Declaration on the Rights of the Child. Exactly thirty years later,
the UN adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Fast forward almost thirty years, Malta, along with many other countries, is
celebrating Universal Children’s Day, aka World Children’s Day.
The common thread that knits these
events together lies in the fact that children have fundamental rights, such as
those to receive adequate care and education. Therefore, children’s rights are
universal, meaning that all
children, irrespective of social or cultural differences, must receive adequate
care, education and a host of other things that are necessary to their
Today more than ever, the myriad
differences that distinguish children from one another coexist under the roof
of the same classroom, in the limits of the same village, in the territory of
the same nation. It is very fitting that these differences and the universal
rights that bind them together are being celebrated in Gżira, a Maltese town with a
highly multicultural populace.
It is even
more fitting that such celebrations as have been intelligently conceived and
delivered by the Gżira Local Council, with the support inter alia of the Office
of the Commissioner for Children, are culminating on 20 November. By nature,
children are able to develop different identities, quickly mastering the
language of a foreign country alongside their mother tongue, and easily making
friends among native children outside or within their intra-ethnic social circles.
celebrating Universal Children’s Day should also serve as humbling reminder of
how easy and enriching it can be for people of different cultures and
conditions to live as one community.