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UN General Comment

“What my government should do to improve my life”

In July in India, over one hundred children from eight different countries were brought together by ChildHope partner, Butterflies.

We thought it was the ideal opportunity to discuss an important new UN document with them. The UN General Comment on Children in Street Situations is not the snappiest of titles. And understanding the workings of the UN can be baffling to us all. What would our Butterflies children make of it?!

But the children in the room weren’t just any group of 10 – 18-year-olds. For a number of years, they have been part of the Children’s Development Khazana (CDK) and Children’s Health Co-operative (CHC) initiative, run by Butterflies in India.

Children who are part of the programme understand what children’s rights and human rights are. They know that they are often denied these rights. And they’re keen to have a say about how this might change!

We explained that the General Comment is a document for all the governments that are signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. And that the document tells their governments how they must improve things for children living and working on the streets around the world.

When the children heard this, they thought about what they would most like to say to their governments and made posters with the messages they wanted to share.

  • Some of the things the children said:
  • Teach children about right and wrong instead of making criminal allegations about them
  • Make parents send their children to school
  • Help parents with money to send their children to school
  • Make education free, friendly, without discrimination and help children to catch up by giving them extra classes
  • Make birth certificates free everywhere
  • Give free access to health care and health insurance
  • Give free access to playgrounds
  • The police should not abuse street children, physically and mentally, they should be there for security and safety. They should stop destroying street children’s property.
  • Children have a right not to be sexually abused
  • Every child should have a right to health, education and love
  • There should be strict laws about drugs

If you would like to read more about our work in India, or about the UN General Comment.

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