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Declaration of the Rights of the Child

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The Declaration of the Rights of the Child is the name given to a series of related children's rights proclamations. The first was drafted by Eglantyne Jebb and adopted by the International Save the Children Union, Geneva, on 23 February 1923 and endorsed by the League of Nations General Assembly on 26 November 1924 as the World Child Welfare Charter.[1]

The original document, in the archives of the city of Geneva, carries the signatures of various international delegates, including Jebb, Janusz Korczak, and Gustave Ador, a former President of the Swiss Confederation.

The SCIU merged into the International Union of Child Welfare by 1946, and this group pressed the newly formed United Nations to continue to work for war-scarred children and for adoption of the World Child Welfare Charter.

On 20 November 1959 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a much expanded version as its own Declaration of the Rights of the Child, with ten principles in place of the original five.[2] This date has been adopted as the Universal Children's Day.

The initial 1923 document consisted of the following stipulations:

  1. The child must be given the means requisite for its normal development, both materially and spiritually.
  2. The child that is hungry must be fed, the child that is sick must be nursed, the child that is backward must be helped, the delinquent child must be reclaimed, and the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succored.
  3. The child must be the first to receive relief in times of distress.
  4. The child must be put in a position to earn a livelihood, and must be protected against every form of exploitation.
  5. The child must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of its fellow men.

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