Championing street children's rights
Almost every country in the world has committed to children’s rights by signing up to an international treaty called the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Despite this, not every child is treated equally. Street children, one of the world’s most vulnerable populations, face daily violations of their human rights. For a long time, they have been ignored; they have been invisible.
However, a major landmark for street children everywhere was reached in 2017. The United Nations’ experts on children’s human rights, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, released official guidance for governments about street children. This guidance tells governments how they should put the Convention on the Rights of the Child into effect specifically for street children. It explains in detail what governments are legally required to do to protect street children from harm and give them the same opportunities owed to every other child. Importantly, the guidance includes the words of street children themselves. It recognises their needs, their ambitions, their fears and their dreams.
To ensure this guidance moves from paper to practice, we need countries to stand up and be champions for street children.
The First Champion
The first country to make a bold public commitment to fully adopt the guidance and put it into practice is Uruguay. The national Government of Uruguay officially announced this commitment at a high-level event at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Montevideo, in December 2017.
The Government of Uruguay is building a legal and policy framework and national plan for street children using the United Nations’ guidance. Government representatives, civil society and street children have taken part in the planning process. Consortium for Street Children and its network member Gurises Unidos, a Uruguayan child rights organisation, are working with the Government of Uruguay to ensure that their pioneering best practice is shared around the world.
If you work in government and are ready to build a better future for street children in your country, the Consortium for Street Children would love to hear from you and learn how we can best support your efforts. If you work for a government that has already made a commitment to put the United Nations’ guidance on street children into practice, or if you work for a non-governmental organisation and would like to collaborate with your national government to help street children, we also want to hear from you! Please contact our Advocacy and Research Manager, Lizet Vlamings, at email@example.com.