On 21st of June UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has published The General Comment on Children in Street Situation: Download Comment
Center for Youth Integration expresses great satisfaction because of the fact that The General Comment gives directions and instructions to all the Governments around the world but also represent a long-awaited document by which the United Nations, for the first time ever at such a high level , officially recognizes the rights of street involved children.
Some of the key recommendations are:
- States are urged to adopt holistic and long-term strategies and make the necessary budget allocations for children in street situations
- Respecting all the fundamental human rights of children guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child
- The removal of legal provisions that directly or indirectly discriminate children and/or their parents based on their street involvement
- Abolish any provisions allowing or supporting the round-up or arbitrary removal of children and their families from the streets or public spaces
- The criminalization of begging can only result in worse life positions for these children and their families
- States should invest in good quality initial and in-service basic training on child rights for all professionals who may come into direct or indirect contact with children in street situations
- States should also support civil society in providing personalized, specialist service for children in street situations on the child rights approach base, through funding, accreditation and regulation
- Street-living status, financial and material poverty, or conditions directly and uniquely imputable to such poverty, should never be the only justification for the removal of a child from parental care but should be seen as a signal for the need to provide appropriate support to the family
- Activities aimed at suppression of child labor should include appropriate comprehensive measures, with emphasis on providing support and alternatives for children
The Center for Youth Integration especially highlights the fact that the basic principles on which this Comment is based, the principle of voluntarism and the principle of child participation, are the same principles on which the entire work of Drop in Shelter is based – the service that this organization provides for the last ten years.
However, publishing the General Comment is not the end of the work, it’s just the beginning of a new process – to support Governments and States to implement all recommendations and to make sure this guidance becomes a reality for street involved children around the world. In this regard, the Center for Youth Integration expresses the hope that the Government of the Republic of Serbia, as well as the local self-governments, will be accountable and follow the recommendations in order to respect the rights of these children.
Despite the fact that Drop in Shelter is the only service in the City of Belgrade created exclusively for street involved children, this service is still not recognized within the City of Belgrade budget. Funds for Drop in Shelter have been provided by the end of the current year, and the Center for Youth Integration hopes that the importance of this service will be recognized and that its sustainability will be provided.