Young people taking part in last month’s Street Child Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, joined street children worldwide in making their voices heard and influencing governments by feeding into new UN guidance on their rights.
Hundreds of street children from over 25 countries are taking part in seven pioneering consultation events and their views will be reflected in the forthcoming UN General Comment on children in street situations. Once published this guidance will help governments provide better support and services tailored to the needs of street children.
Young people from nine countries took part in a consultation as part of the Street Child Games, giving their views and unique perspectives on life on the street. Their voices will feed directly into new international guidance on how governments can fulfil their human rights obligations to street children worldwide.
The consultation, one of seven, was organised by Consortium for Street Children, the leading international network of organisations working for street children’s rights.
The UN estimates there are 150 million children living on, working in or at risk of the streets across the world, although robust global numbers are simply not known. These children and young people are stigmatised, mistreated and marginalised. They are routinely denied their basic human rights, often unable to access food, clean water, shelter, healthcare, education and basic services.
The consultations will ensure the voices of these young people are heard at the highest level and help ensure that governments’ responses to these children reflect their real lives and experiences.
The guidance, which is being developed by the UN’s highest authority on children’s rights, will lay out governments’ obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – the key piece of international law on children’s rights, which has been accepted by all countries in the world except the USA.
Sarah Thomas de Benitez, CEO, Consortium for Street Children said: “These consultation events are a unique opportunity for children who depend on the streets to be at the centre of developing ground-breaking international United Nations’ guidance that can revolutionise how governments across the globe protect, support and tailor services to the needs of children in street situations. Consortium for Street Children, as an organisation that consistently champions children’s rights, is incredibly proud to be making these transformatory consultations with children a reality.’’
John Wroe, CEO, Street Child United said ‘‘We believe that street children’s voices must be heard at all levels and we are proud that the Street Child Games in Rio de Janeiro will host consultations for the UN General Comment on children in street situations.”
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