A BLOG POST BY LOUISE MEINCKE, ADVOCACY DIRECTOR, CONSORTIUM FOR STREET CHILDREN
The International Day for Street Children is celebrated every year on 12 April. The day provides a platform for the millions of street children around the world - and their champions - to speak out so that their rights cannot be ignored.
The International Day for Street Children was launched in 2011 by the Consortium for Street Children (CSC), the leading international network dedicated to realising the rights of street children worldwide. The day is celebrated by street children, NGOs, policy makers, celebrities, corporates and individuals across the globe, and is supported by Aviva, through its Street to School programme.
Since the first international day in 2011, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) commissioned a report into street children in order to be better able to protect and promote their rights. The report was the result of a groundbreaking new partnership between the OHCHR, UNICEF, CSC and Aviva, and followed the 2011 UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) discussion day on street children and the accompanying unanimously adopted UN Resolution (16/12) - the first street child specific resolution in almost two decades, and which attracted more co-sponsors than almost any other since the creation of the UNHRC in 2006. This report was presented to the March 2012 session of the UNHRC. You can read the report here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Children/Study/Pages/childrenonthestreet.aspx.
The report highlighted and challenged many common misperceptions around street children, who face a daily struggle for survival. In order to survive these children adopt many tactics necessary to survive on the streets, such as begging, loitering and rough sleeping. However, these tactics are often met with heavy handed treatment by authorities - such as violence and round-ups. CSC believes that rather than treating street children as criminals, authorities should understand the reasons for street children’s behaviour and provide the necessary support needed for their reintegration back into society. Being a street child is not a crime.
Following this, the International Day for Street Children focus on ‘challenging perceptions’ of street children. We are encouraging people to question what they think they know about street children. To mark the day CSC wants to ensure street children are not ignored and are asking governments, NGOs and the public to sign a pledge to stand up for the rights of street children at http://www.streetchildrenday.org/take-action/#addyourvoice.
On our dedicated website you can find further information about how to get involved: http://www.streetchildrenday.org/. Support the day by helping to spread the word through your networks, websites, twitter and Facebook accounts. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support!