12 April 2015: International Day for Street Children
Guest Blog for International Day for Street Children
The right to life. The right to freedom from violence. The right to be treated equally and not be discriminated against. The right to care and protection if they do not live with their families. These rights and many more are violated for street children on a daily basis.
‘Street children’ are also sometimes called ‘runaways’, ‘homeless’, ‘detached’ or ‘street youth’. They can be found in most countries, both rich and poor. They are resourceful and often resilient individuals, who actively make their own connections with the street. They build friendships, survival networks and even homes on the street and many earn a living for themselves, siblings and sometimes for their whole family there.
“We are also a part of their city. Just as they give respect to others, they should also respect us.” Street-connected child, Delhi
All children should be able to enjoy their rights. But street children experience stigma, discrimination and violence daily. They are neglected by their societies and ignored by their communities and governments, meaning their rights are disregarded.
The case of the Coastei Street families is an example. In 2010, approximately 350 people, the vast majority Roma, were forcibly evicted by local authorities from Coastei Street in the centre of the city of Cluj-Napoca in Romania. Those evicted were given little notice and no chance to challenge the process or influence decisions about their future. Some of the families were inadequately rehoused, while others were left homeless. Some built improvised shelters close to the city’s rubbish tip and a former chemical dump, some moved in with relatives or friends and some are squatting in the city. A legal case to challenge the eviction is pending.
The next two years will be a crucial time in creating change for street children like those left homeless after their eviction from Coastei Street. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, the highest UN authority on children’s rights, will be developing a General Comment on Children in Street Situations.
The General Comment will explain what governments must do for street children and will bring attention to the violations of street-connected children’s rights worldwide. It will be a powerful tool that advocates will be able to use to create change for street children.
You can learn more about street children with the Consortium for Street Children’s (CSC) ‘Street-connected children myth busters’ and about the General Comment with CSC’s ‘Easy Guide to the General Comment on Children in Street Situations’. Please help raise awareness of street-connected children and their rights by sharing these on Twitter
What would you change about your street? Share your answers on Facebook or tweet to @streetchildren using the tag #TweetForTheStreet
About the Consortium for Street Children
The Consortium for Street Children (CSC) successfully lobbied for the General Comment to be created and will support its development and promote its use. CSC a global network that raises street children’s voices, promotes their rights and improves their lives. Follow CSC on Twitter, like us on Facebook or see www.streetchildren.org for more information.
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.