International Day for Street Children 2021
Ask the UK government to ensure street children are not overlooked by aid cuts
The Covid-19 pandemic has magnified the problems already faced by street-connected children – some of the world’s most vulnerable children. Research conducted by Consortium for Street Children has revealed that measures put in place to contain the pandemic, have pushed them further into the margins. They have seen their livelihoods disappear, their health endangered and are at increased risk of violence, discrimination and criminalisation as they face rules and restrictions on being out unavoidably in public spaces which often serve as their homes.
Street children need to access essential services such as healthcare, education and protection, but this has become much harder as services are overstretched, schools are shut and learning is moved online. An additional barrier to access is that street children often lack legal identity documentation or a fixed address, requirements in many countries to enrol in school, receive health care, or access emergency relief.
The UK recently committed to protecting vulnerable children and helping them to grow up free from violence throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, stating that “children are part of the solution in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as we build back better.” (UN Human Rights Council 46: UK statement on Violence against Children, 8th March 2021)
The situation for street children is now urgent. The UK’s overseas aid budget plays a key role in supporting access to health, education and protection services for many children globally and street children must not be overlooked as this budget is reduced.
On this International Day for Street Children, 12 April 2021, we urge the UK government to ensure that street children are not left behind as the world begins to navigate recovery from the pandemic.
Benoit Van Keirsbilck, Member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and Director at Defence for Children International, Belgium
Emily Smith-Reid, Chair of Trustees, CSC
Sir Desmond Swayne, MP New Forest West
Virendra Sharma, MP Ealing Southall
Trudy Davies, CSC Founder and Ambassador
Professor Linda Theron, University of Pretoria and Member of the CSC Research Forum
Dr. Harriot Beazley, University of the Sunshine Coast and Member of the CSC Research Forum
Khushboo Jain, University of Delhi and Member of the CSC Research Forum
Ruth Edmonds, Founder of Keep your Shoes Dirty and Co-chair of the CSC Research Forum
Professir Phil Mizen, Aston University and Member of the CSC Research Forum