Street Social Workers Network (SSWN – Ghana) and Street Social Workers in general are calling for the implementation of the FOUR Steps to EQUALITY of Street-connected children as stipulated in the General Comment on Children in Street Situation of the UN Convention of the right of the child.
According to a press release signed and issued in Accra on Wednesday by Mr Paul Semeh, Ag. Vice chairman of SSWN, in Ghana, street connected children are on a rampant rise numbering over 100,000 and the few street social workers numbering about 100 are struggling to get their voices heard on behalf of the children they serve and the issue of abuse of their right under control.
On the 12th of April every year is celebrated as the International Day of Street Children. The day provides a platform for the millions of children in street situation around the world – and their champions (street social workers) – to speak out so that their rights cannot be ignored.
Nearly all countries, except the United States of America have signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and have a legal obligation to work towards ensuring that children rights are integrated into national law. It is universally recognized that all children should have these rights realised; however many government policies and practices still do not include street children he added.
Street-connected children are too often denied the rights owed to them. Things most of us take for granted, like healthcare, access to justice when rights are violated, freedom from harassment. The time to get going is now. Equality for street children starts here.
Mr Semeh stated that, The Government of the Republic of Ghana through the Department of Social Welfare under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has recently introduced a project to get children out of the street and to give them options for development and better life which calls for the participation and active involvement of Street Social Workers.
With a stronger network of actors for street connected children, we can act side by side the government to provide holistic protection to street connected children.
The rights of the street children which was published in late 2017 and, for the first time, acknowledges that governments must pay special attention to ensure children connected to the street are able to have access to their rights,and sets out comprehensive guidance in order to accomplish it.
The rights include, Commitment to equality: There must be the recognition in state policies and laws that street connected children have the same rights as everyone else.
protect every child: Protect children connected children from violence and abuse and ensure that children have access to justice when their rights are violated.
- Provide access to services: Enable access to the essential services as every child, such as schools and hospitals so they can reach their full potential.
- Create New Solutions: Deliver specialized services and opportunities that tune into the unique needs and challenges of the life of street connected children.
By: Latifa Carlos