“Abandoned, casted off, discarded, rejected and thrown out: up to 150 million children in street situations worldwide endure great deprivation and rights violations, with little to no regard given to their best interest,” the experts said. These children are escaping from poverty, inadequate housing, broken families, domestic violence, displacement, natural disasters, conflicts and wars. They take to the streets because there is simply nowhere else to go. Once on the street they suffer from discrimination and stigmatization………
Children Speak Out
A report was launched at the 16th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where a street child from Benin shared the stage with Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children, and called on governments to do more to protect rights for children like her.
“Countries have to take the problems of street children seriously. We need protection, care and to be able to go to school. Free education should be available for all children and more especially for girls,” says 18-year-old Severine, who was forced to live and work on Benin’s streets.
Birth Registration Key Plan’s Head of Global Advocacy Nadya Kassam says: “Street children are some of the most excluded in our societies. Often without carers, they can be more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse – such as rape, kidnap, or being used for illegal and hazardous work. “But having a birth certificate means they have a legal identity, which makes them visible to the authorities who must take responsibility for providing education, health and protective services.”
Call for Action Plan and CSC are calling for governments and the international community to:
- focus greater attention on marginalised children in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals
- put in place and adequately fund national child protection and child welfare systems that are sensitive to the rights of street children
- recognise that the factors that lead to a children living or working on the street are complex and organisations working with street children need to tailor their responses
- provide appropriate gender and child rights training for all those who work with street children.
Direct Link to Street Children Report: http://plan-international.org/files/global/publications/protection/street_children_report_2011.pdf