Buildings across Czechia to light up in blue today to mark World Children’s Day

Issues such as domestic violence still afflict many children in Czechia – the event raises awareness of their well-being.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 20.11.2023 15:54:00 (updated on 20.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Nov. 20 marks World Children's Day, an annual event by charity UNICEF celebrated in Czechia to raise awareness of the rights and needs of children worldwide. As part of the campaign, landmarks across the Czech Republic will light up in blue to raise awareness of children’s well-being. 

Iconic sites like Prague's Petřín Tower and the Dancing House in the capital will join the illumination efforts to draw attention to children's issues. Other Czech cities, including Brno and Český Krumlov, will create similar displays using light projections.

Nov. 20 commemorates the 1989 adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a historic commitment by world leaders to improve children's lives through safeguarding their human rights. 

Still work to be done

This year's theme underscores the urgent work still to be done in protecting children, who continue facing threats like conflict, poverty, disease, and violence in many parts of the globe.

UNICEF Czech Director Pavla Gomba emphasizes the ongoing challenges despite progress, noting millions still face armed conflict, extreme destitution, natural disasters, and other threats daily. The agency appeals for an end to violence against children caught in the recent Middle East crises. With children representing humanity's future, Gomba stresses the need to safeguard their well-being through specific local initiatives and global advocacy.

UNICEF has proven that compassion knows no boundaries. Help is provided to all children without distinction of race, creed, nationality, or political opinion

Some Czech children are victims of violence

Czechia has some of its own struggles with children’s wellbeing. It is the only country in the EU where spanking children is not legally punishable. Earlier this year, Czech Labor Minister Marian Jurečka opposed criminalizing parents for spanking their children, emphasizing a clear distinction between domestic violence and discipline. 

Research reveals over a third of Czech parents use physical punishment, with younger parents and those with multiple children more likely to do so. According to a 2023 survey, a quarter of respondents support a ban on physical punishment. Non-governmental organizations and services such as the Locika Center are campaigning for its criminalization. 

One-fifth of children in the Czech Republic are victims or witnesses to domestic violence. 

Helping Czech children for almost 80 years

UNICEF has for decades been actively helping children in the Czech Republic – including in pre-communist Czechoslovakia. It began providing aid in 1945 and continues supporting children through educational programs that raise awareness of humanitarian issues. Programs such as “Adopt a doll, save a child,” and continuous research for the Mladé hlasy (Young Voices) project help keep track of children’s well-being nationwide. 

The Czech branch of UNICEF also advocates for the creation of a special ombudsman for children and helps organize workshops and lectures across the country’s educational institutions. It is currently cooperating with Czech cities as part of its Child-Friendly Cities Initiative, which aims to motivate municipalities to take into account the rights and needs of children in their legislative decision-making.

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