Article date: 15 July 2014
In June we saw a monumental achievement for street children and those working on their behalf. Shining a big spotlight on the issue and some great teamwork from all sectors has resulted in the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child deciding to develop a General Comment on Children in street situations. This means that the UN will issue specific authoritative guidance on street child rights – it will mean better policies, better practice and better results for street children worldwide.
As part of Aviva’s global Street to School program, through which we’ve impacted more than 820 000 children, we have been supporting the Consortium for Street Children (CSC) in their campaign for street children to be recognised in UN policy as part of our quest for sustainable, lasting outcomes for street children.
Dr Sarah Thomas de Benitez, CEO, CSC said: ’The Committee's decision - even before a word is written - catapults street children from a backwater issue to visibility at global level, acknowledging that a particular policy mix and specialised interventions are needed to make sure children in street situations can enjoy their basic human rights.’’
At Aviva, we’ve been honoured to play our part in this journey. Back in 2011 we were the only business to attend a UN Human Rights Council Special Session in Geneva which saw the first resolution on street children passed in 17 years. Since then, through pioneering partnerships with UN agencies we’ve helped to get street children firmly on the agenda. We’ve funded and collaborated on research, brought together all sectors at a roundtable for action in South-East Asia and helped to build public support for the issue through the International day for Street Children and social media campaigns #TogetherForStreetKids and #TweetForTheStreet, which reached more than 14 million people.
Working with our partners, our primary objective has been for street children to have the same rights as any other child and authoritative guidance to be given on their rights. The General Comment will play a big part in helping that happen.
The General Comment will be develop over the next two years in consultation with street children themselves, NGOs, Governments, businesses and international bodies. We will be a part of this, helping to ensure that this new policy on street children will make the substantial difference we want it to.
Dr Sarah Thomas de Benitez said the CSC will be involved every step of the way, ensuring that the process is "inclusive and consultative with a wide variety of cross-sector stakeholders".
To find out more about the General Comment and what it will mean for street children please take a look at this article on the Guardian development professionals network: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/jun/24/un-street-children-general-comment