Universal Children's Day

Posted by Shami Chakrabarti on 20 November 2012

Today is Universal Children's Day and Liberty salutes young people everywhere. We remember how vulnerable and disempowered a child can feel whether her parents are privileged but preoccupied or whether to all intents and purposes she has no parent or her parent is the State.

Human rights are supposed to protect everyone from abuses of individual power as well as the tyranny of the majority. No category of humanity can ever be literally more disenfranchised than children who so need and deserve both the respect and protection of the rest of us. Yet too often we seem to regard kids as either precious possessions not to be "spoiled" or inherently unpredictable "antisocial" forces in our world. How damaging to generational justice and harmony is this cartoon of little angels off to cello practice contrasted with the "hoodies" from hell?

Many of us are privileged enough to have children in our lives but "other people's children" are a different matter. Let's remember that this new generation didn't crunch the credit, warm the planet or start real and metaphysical wars at home and abroad. Yet most of them will probably have to work longer and harder under more taxation and for less remuneration than their parents in order to pay for their parents' generation's mistakes. Surely today of all days we can remember them all with a little more love.