Number of street children worldwide reaches 100 million

The number of children living and working on the streets worldwide is now estimated at over 100 million, according to the UN Human Rights office.

Child Labour

Child Labour

Addressing the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said street children should not be seen as a social problem, but as human beings who can contribute to society.

Ms Pillay is calling for greater efforts to protect street children.

“In addition to violence, discrimination and stigma, street children also lack basic rights such as education, health care, food and adequate living conditions. They can easily be exposed to exploitative work, drug and harsh punishment for small offences. They may also face serious health problems including HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. We must protect these children. At a minimum we must ensure that children living and/or working on the street are not subject to punishment by laws penalizing survival behaviors such as begging, vagrancy truancy and running away.”

The High Commissioner added that violence against street children by law enforcement agencies was unacceptable.

She said street children need to be empowered to speak up for their rights and be involved in the design and development of programmes aimed at improving their lives.

Duration: 47″

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