A BLOG POST BY LOUISE MEINCKE It is a strange thing that with millions of children living and working on the streets worldwide they are often overlooked - by policy makers, the media and the public. During the early 1990s street children were an issue of concern in the media and at UN level, when reports of targeted vigilante killings of street children in some Latin American countries came to light. But since then street children, slowly but surely, got subsumed into broader policy categories or lost in other issues of concern. However, after almost two decades we could see this change, as street children’s rights are finally coming back to the fore of international policy arenas. Street children are still here and their rights cannot be ignored.
On 9th of March 2011 the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva dedicated a day to discussing the promotion and protection of street children’s rights. The day provided an opportunity for policy makers, NGOs and other stakeholders to come together and discuss holistic, child rights and gender based solutions to the phenomenon of street children. It also formed the base for a new dedicated resolution on street children, the first since 1994. This has now been unanimously passed by the 47 member states of the UNHRC, and so far co-sponsored by a further 43 States not currently sitting on the Council.
One of the most exciting outcomes of the resolution is that the UNHRC invites the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to undertake a study on challenges, best practices and lessons learned in promoting and protecting street children’s rights, including data collection guidelines. This is an important step as research on street children is thin and fragmented, and what is available rarely translates into sound policies and programme design. The study has to be presented for the UNHRC’s 19th session next year.
As we move forward from the UNHRC discussion day and resolution the Consortium for Street Children is launching the International Day for Street Children: Louder Together on 12th April, with support from Aviva plc. The campaign aims to give a louder voice to the millions of street children so their rights cannot be ignored, by asking people to Raise their Voice for Street Children. Already many events are being planned, from street parties in Honduras to sleep outs in Ireland. And we would like you to get involved as well. Further information can be found at http://www.streetchildren.org.uk/international-day/. Please help us make the Day as loud as possible for street children.
Written by Louise Meincke, Advocacy Director, Consortium for Street Children