Urgent Action - stop SA World Cup roundups of street children

From our friends at Casa Allianza Nicaragua, who led a team to the first ever Deloitte Street Children World Cup:

PLEASE HELP: STREET KIDS ROUNDED UP BY POLICE IN SOUTHAFRICA

I’m sure you will have read our recent reports about the wonderful exploits of the team from Casa Alianza Nicaragua at the Street Child World Cup in Durban. As ambassadors for Nicaragua, Casa Alianza and street children the world over, they demonstrated how love, practical support and therapeutic care can help children overcome the trauma of life on the streets and give them back their childhoods, and ultimately their lives. 

Unfortunately this message appears to have been lost amid all the frantic preparations for this summer’s World Cup. Even as street kids from all over the world were playing their hearts out in Durban and using the platform to express their aspirations and ideas, local African street kids were being routinely rounded up by the Durban municipality Metro Police and dumped outside of the city, with no food, no water, no care, no protection.  And it’s not just happening in Durban. Across Johannesburg andCape Town too, homeless kids and families are being rounded up and transported miles away, in some cases to temporary shelters with very few if any amenities and little security….compare this with the estimated £3bn budget for the World Cup!  

A local Johannesburg government spokesman said: “Homelessness and begging are big problems. You have to clean your house before you have guests”. But forcibly “cleansing” children and the homeless from the street is not the answer. It is a violation of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Instead of attempting to sweep the problem under the carpet, the authorities should be tackling the real issues. Please write to the authorities (addresses and sample letter overleaf), urging them to: 

  • Treat street children and homeless people with dignity and stop the practice of forced removals, which violates their human rights and fundamental freedoms
  • Work with local organisations to develop a practical strategy to address the issue of street children and homelessness
  • Tackle the housing problem and improve living conditions on a long-term basis, rather than taking a short-term approach for the World Cup

Once your MP has been elected please write to them, asking them to raise this issue with the Foreign Office but please do write to your MEPs as a matter of urgency.  

Addresses

Mr Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa

Private Bag X1000Pretoria 0001South AfricaEmail: president@po.gov.za  

Mr Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Police

Private Bag X463 Pretoria 0001South Africa 

Obed Mlaba, DurbanMayor:Fax: +27 31 311 2111
Email: mayorspa@durban.gov.za

H. E. Dr. Zola Skweyiya, SouthAfrican High Commissioner:

South African High Commission
South Africa House
Trafalgar Square
LondonWC2N 5DP

Email: wilkinsn@foreign.gov.za

WRITE TO YOUR MEP via a free service at www.writetothem.com

 

Please circulate the Urgent Action to as many people as possible and send a copy to Casa Alianza UK at casalnzauk@gn.apc.org so we may measure the response.   

Thank You,

Casa Alianza UK  www.casa-alianza.org.uk

Our advocacy work is entirly self funded, if you can, please make a donation.

 

Sampleletter (or please feel free to use your own words): 

Dear XX,

I am writing to express my deep concern about reports that street children and the homeless in South Africa are being rounded up and forcibly removed to areas outside of the city, apparently in an attempt to clean up the streets ahead of the forthcoming World Cup. Given the success of the recent Street Child World Cup in Durban, I find it particularly disappointing that the message of thattournament seems to have been ignored, with kids being rounded up off the streets even as the tournament was taking place. I would remind you that forcibly removing street children or homeless people in this way isa violation of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, and would urge you must respectfully to: 

  • Treat street children and homeless people with dignity and stop the practice of forced removals, which violates their rights and fundamental freedoms
  • Work with local organisations to develop a practical strategy to address the issue of street children and homelessness
  • Tackle the housing problem and improve living conditions in South Africa on a long-term basis, rather than taking a short-term approach for the World Cup

 I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter. 

Yours sincerely,

XX

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
View latest posts
0 comments