AIUK AGM 2012: Support for a street-child rights campaign
The Amnesty UK AGM carried the following resolution in April 2012:
"In the light of the ICM decision to give greater emphasis to campaigning on children’s human rights and the current interest by the UN Human Rights Council on issues of concern to street children, AIUK requests the IS to research human rights violations against street children in Central and South America, and particularly Brazil, using the opportunities to campaign provided during the Football World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016."
During the debate at the AGM Working Party an Amnesty Youth Group member expressed the opinion that this resolution, if carried, and followed through by the IS, could have enormous benefits in raising interest in Amnesty groups in schools as they need more children's cases to work on to provide particular interest and motivation, especially among younger Amnesty members. The UK Section now has over 900 Amnesty School Groups and 115 University Groups.
Other Sections might like to join us in asking the IS to grasp this opportunity to highlight the human rights abuses of street children - a group that no other large international charity seems to focus on. The UK Consortium for Street Children which has over 70 small NGO members working in over 100 countries works in partnership with the AIUK Children's HR Network on this.
During the Working Party debate, a Youth Group proposed to add the following sentence:
"The IS might then further this campaign in other such countries that have human rights violations against street children, and are also hosting major international events in the future, based on the success of the first campaign."
This was considered friendly and the whole resolution with this sentence added was 'carried overwhelmingly' (in fact 'unanimously') by the 500+ AIUK members at the AGM.
Background to the resolution:
In 2010, in advance of the Football World Cup in South Africa, a Street Child World Cup was run by the Amos Trust, their South African partner NGO Umthombo, supported by the Consortium for Street Children. The event had eight national teams (from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe) and hosted a two day campaigning conference, which highlighted cases of round-ups of street children by the South African police in advance of the World Cup – and as a result of the media publicity, got assurances that this would not happen.
The Amos Trust together with a Brazilian NGO partner, the ABC Trust, and corporate sponsorship, are organizing a 2014 Street Children World Cup in Brazil, supported by the Consortium for Street Children, which will be on a larger and more ambitious scale with at least 20 country participants and a key campaigning conference with the children team members to explore their rights and take back the issues to their own governments. This will be a particular opportunity to campaign for street children in Brazil and other participating countries and the organizers would welcome Amnesty International’s support on the issues that are likely to be raised by the children.
There are already signs that the Brazilian authorities are considering slum clearance in advance of both the World Cup and the Olympics and there is a clear need for Amnesty to monitor this under its ‘Demand Dignity’ campaign. There is also a strong likelihood of round-ups and expulsion of street children from the event areas as was threatened in South Africa.
The development of a campaign on children’s rights around these events may also provide support for the initiation of Amnesty Sections in South and Central America, with children’s rights being seen to have more public support and be less politically controversial than some other Amnesty concerns.
Please help the children's rights network request that Amnesty International's Secretariat pay some attention to this issue in the run up to Brazil's megaevents. The new AI research and campainging office, based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is already working on the issue of forced evictions - which of course affect children as members of families. It has long been our belief that children's rights are human rights, and the issue of street children is particularly prevalent, as they are likely to come into contact with the law due to the criminalisation of 'survival behaviours'. See also my recent article entitled 'Street children at the United Nations', for information on recent UN-commissioned research into the area.
Many thanks for reading.
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