Eglantyne Jebb was committed to alleviating the hardship and misery of children, no matter what country they came from – and in 1919 she campaigned in London for donations for children from Germany and France, the former enemies from the First World War. She was to be arrested, but her words moved the chief prosecutor so much that even he donated five pounds. Finally, in May 1919, the Save the Children Fund is founded in the Royal Albert Hall.
The International Union of Save the Children was founded in Geneva on 6 January 1920. The executive committee was chaired by Gustave Ador, former Federal Councillor and head of the ICRC.
Today a plaque in a park opposite the United Nations headquarters in Geneva commemorates Jebb’s services to children and their rights.
Jebb not only founded the world’s leading child rights organisation today, but is also considered a pioneer of the international children’s rights movement. In 1922, she wrote the first declaration for the rights of the child. It is thanks to her vehement commitment to children’s rights that these principles were first adopted in 1924 by the League of Nations (the predecessor organisation of today’s United Nations, UNO) as the “Geneva Declaration”. They later formed the basis for the Declaration of the Rights of the Child of the United Nations: On 20 November 1989, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, thus finally establishing the basis for children’s rights under international law. Today, the Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified international convention of all – all states except the USA have signed it.
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