Stories from the UN Archive: Audrey Hepburn on children’s rights

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Soon after becoming a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1988, she went on a mission to Ethiopia, where years of drought and civil strife had caused terrible famine.

After visiting UNICEF emergency operations, she talked about the projects to media in the United States, Canada and Europe over several weeks, giving as many as 15 interviews a day.

In December 1954, a UN General Assembly resolution called on the world to institute a Universal Children’s Day. Twenty-five years later, world leaders adopted the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Upon its adoption in 1989, Ms. Hepburn gave a passionate speech, emphasizing that “the child shall, in all circumstances, be among the first to receive protection and relief in times of emergency and disaster.”

Audrey Hepburn, one of UNICEF’s most beloved Goodwill Ambassadors, holds a child at a feeding centre in Baidoa, Somalia, in 1992.

Audrey Hepburn, one of UNICEF’s most beloved Goodwill Ambassadors, holds a child at a feeding centre in Baidoa, Somalia, in 1992.

Watch UN Video’s Stories from the UN Archive episode on Ms. Hepburn here. On #ThrowbackThursday, UN News is showcasing epic moments across the UN’s past, cultivated from the UN Audiovisual Library’s 49,400 hours of video and 18,000 hours of audio recordings.

Catch up on our series here, and watch more episodes from UN Video’s Stories from the UN Archive playlist here. Join us next Thursday for another dive into history.

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Audrey Hepburn smiles as she carries a child on her back in the northern town of Mehal Meda in Shoa province, Ethiopia.

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Audrey Hepburn smiles as she carries a child on her back in the northern town of Mehal Meda in Shoa province, Ethiopia.



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