SSSK has increasingly tried to involve members in advocacy, and there is a useful link to the Consortium for Street Children site where current campaigns are highlighted, see: https://www.streetchildren.org/our-work/advocacy/
These include the call to mark the International Day for Street Children.
As an example of a past campaign in 2010 which was supported by the SSSK university branches: Realising Rights: Stop Violence Against Street Children
“The police treat us badly. They hit us. Not for any particular reason – just because they feel like it. They have hit me lots of times. They hit with their rifles, or with sticks, on our backs and stomachs. And sometimes they just punch us in the stomach with their hands. They also take our paint thinner and pour it over our heads. They have done that to me five times. It is awful, it hurts really bad. It gets in your eyes and burns; for half an hour you can not see anything.”
The above testimony is from a 15 year old street child in Guatemala. Street children across the world are subjected to horrendous levels of violence, which often takes place in the hands of agents of the state – the very people who are supposed to protect them and guarantee their rights to a happy, safe and fulfilled life. The Realising Rights: Stop Violence Against Street Children campaign aims to reduce the levels of violence against street-involved children around the world and raise vital funds to support the Consortium for Street Children in this work.
What the CSC is calling for is:
- Training and sensitisation of police in street children’s rights, needs and protection issues;
- Decriminalisation of so-called status offences;
- An end to all round-ups
- Awareness-raising campaigns on violence against street children.
The UN CRC General Comment 21
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has published General Comment 21 on Children in Street Situations.
For the first time ever, street children are the focus of authoritative United Nations guidance to Member Countries on how to uphold the rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC). Importantly, the General Comment acknowledges the role of “trustworthy adult street workers” in ensuring these children enjoy the respect, dignity and acceptance they deserve.
We congratulate the Consortium for Street Children (CSC), of which we are a member, for persistently pursuing this outcome, since without them this would never have happened. We particularly recognise the contribution of Kate Bretherton, a SSSK Trustee for many years, now working for StreetInvest, who played a prominent role as one of the 12 members of the Consortium’s Advocacy Forum.