A BLOG POST BY LOUISE MEINCKE, STREET CHILDREN “We should give back to our street children their childhood” – 21st commemoration of the Day of the African Child
Every year, on 16thJune, the African Union celebrates the Day of the African Child. The commemoration offers an opportunity to remember the massacre of children in Soweto in 1976, who were killed because they were campaigning for the right to racism-free education in the then apartheid South Africa.
This year the Day of the African Child is dedicated to street children.
The Day entitled ‘All Together for Urgent Actions in Favour of Street Children’ follows hard on the heels of several large steps taken in the recognition of the rights of street children. For example, in March this year the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) also dedicated a day specifically to discussing the rights of street children. The day culminated in the passing of a resolution on street children unanimously adopted by the 47 member states of the UNHRC – the first since 1994.
The fact is there are many questions about street children that remained unanswered and often ignored. The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), who are organising the Day of the African Child, is using it as an opportunity to call for all individual states within the African Union to compile in-depth reports on street children and present them to the committee. By laying emphasis on this specific category of children the ACERWC recognise the urgency and need for increased actions and of adapting intervention strategies directed at them, through the allocation of significant resources.
Our network’s members and their local partners on the ground in Africa will be celebrating this commemoration, through a variety of events, meetings and media engagement. It will be an opportunity for African Government’s to focus on the full potential that street children have, rather than the so often negative labels.
Agnés Kabore, Chairperson of ACERWC, said: “More than just a strong commitment, it is urgent to take concrete steps so as to reassure the children of the unwavering desire to build the Africa they deserve.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Louise Meincke, Advocacy Director, Consortium for Street Children