The Street Child Games Congress, General Assembly and Rio Resolution gave former street children from nine countries the platform to demand their rights, focusing on legal identity, protection from violence and access to education.
Usha, 18, from Chennai, India, gave a passionate speech at the General Assembly about the right to legal identity. She explained why this important issue needs to be urgently addressed:
“Do you fear the police every day? I do. They are supposed to support us and safeguard us, but we don’t experience this. They discriminate against us, or worse, because of the situation we were born in to, or were forced in to. Not having a legal identity gives the police an excuse to harass us.
The general public also ostracise and stigmatise us, treating us like lesser human beings and blaming us for the way we live. But because of a lack of legal identification we can’t get the support we need to be able to improve our situation.
Welfare, education and healthcare are all impossible for us to access, leaving us with no way out. I live with my mum, dad and two sisters, and my family has lived on the streets for three generations. We don’t have any basic facilities. We don’t even have a toilet.
A lack of legal identity severely limits what you can achieve in life. They say that all children can access free education, but without legal identity you aren’t allowed to enrol at a school.
I feel proud and lucky to now have a legal identity, but also sad to know that many, many children around the world aren’t as lucky as me.
So I’m happy I was able to be at the Street Child Games, to speak at Congress and to represent children, not just from India but from all around the world, who aren’t as lucky as I am.
I demand that all governments around the world ensure all street children have a legal identity. We are not begging for this, or asking for it as a favour, it’s our human right.”
To view and share the Rio Resolution click here: http://www.streetchildgames.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/rio-resolution-engandport.pdf