The COVID-19 pandemic and responses to it have brought new risks to children in street situations unlike any we have ever seen before. This population, already vulnerable before the onset of the pandemic, has largely been forgotten in emergency preparedness and response. As a result, children in street situations face devastating direct and indirect consequences of this
Directly, these children are at increased risk of contracting the virus due to their limited ability to take preventative measures, and of developing complications if they contract the virus due to underlying health conditions and compromised immune systems.
Indirectly, with support services being shut down in many countries and children being persecuted and criminalised or otherwise punished for not having a home in which to isolate themselves, they are put at increased risk of harm by the very measures governments have put in place to keep people safe. Pushed to the margins and with no means at all to make any money to provide for themselves as the rest of the community stays at home, children in street situations are at
increased risk of hunger and exploitation by adults.
Drawing on the evidence gathered by CSC Network Members, we have submitted a report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on rights violations faced by children in street situations in the context of the COVID-19 emergency.
Sections 2 to 7 of the report review the status of rights violations experienced by children in street situations against the standards set by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and General Comment No. 21, while Section 8 looks at cooperation for States Parties with non-governmental actors, and how the services designed to support children in street situations are being affected by the present emergency, and the responses that organisations are taking to mitigate these effects. Each section concludes with the main recommendations we urge the Committee to make to States Parties in order for them to fulfil their obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child to protect the rights of children in street situations during this pandemic and beyond.
Image source: SDB/Jugend Eine Welt