Hollywood actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Lucy Liu on Thursday called on the international community to take action to protect children from threats, saying it is “the only thing to do” for the future.

At the occasion to mark the Universal Children’s Day and the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that both fall on Nov. 20, Liu said at the UNICEF’s headquarters in New York that children should have the same basic rights as adults, like the rights to survive, to develop, to be protected from harm, and to be treated equally.

Calling the anniversary an “urgent reminder to place children at the heart of human development,” Liu said she hoped that the whole society could take steps to strengthen protections against every threat to children.

“It’s not merely the right thing to do,” she said. “It’s the only thing to do if our future on this planet as a human family is to hold any promise at all.”

To mark the event, UNICEF has released a special edition of its flagship publication The State of the World’s Children, outlining progress made on children’s rights over the past two decades.

Liu, born in New York and named UNICEF goodwill ambassador in 2005, told Xinhua that instead of being invited by UNICEF as a goodwill ambassador, it was herself who “actually called them up.” “I pushed my way into their family because I love the way they work — on the global level, reaching out to children,” she said.

In the past four years, Liu has been dedicated to the work of helping children and travelled a lot on behalf of UNICEF.

“I have been to different countries, from Africa to Russia to Peru ... all of these different areas have something in common which is children in need,” Liu said.

“But the most impactful was my trip to D.R. Congo, one of the most war-torn areas in the world,” she said, adding that it was such a pity that they were not permitted access to children in the country due to security reasons. — Xinhua

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