The Executive Director of the Street Children Empowerment Foundation Mr. Paul Semeh has underscored the urgent need for paying critical attention to street-connected children in order to keep them safe in the country.
Stressing that the government needs to put measures and policies in place to help address the needs of these vulnerable children.
Mr. Paul Semeh, made this remark in an exclusive interview with NewsGhana during this year’s International Street Children Day with street-connected persons at Kantamanto in Accra to educate them on their rights.
According to him, these children are subjected to abuse, exploitation, stigmatization, and criminalization while on the streets, as well as limits on access to basic services such as healthcare, nutrition, and education.
As a coalition of non-governmental organizations such as Street Girls Aid, Chance for Children, Shelter Africa, Muslim Family Counselling Services, and Friends in Need Foundation led by the Street Children Empowerment Foundation, we decided to take this opportunity to educate these children on their fundamental rights.
He claimed that doing this would enable the vulnerable children to demand their fair share from the government, churches, parents, schools, and community leaders, and that way, everyone could work together to address a seemingly complex issue.
“We want to use this opportunity to ensure governments’ obligations to street-connected children are prioritized by highlighting the urgent need for the implementation of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment 21 on Children in Street Situations (UNCRC GC 21), which among other objectives seeks to provide comprehensive and authoritative guidance to States on using a holistic, child rights approach to: prevent children experiencing rights violations and the lack of choices that results in them having to depend on the streets for their survival and development, and to promote and protect the rights of children already in street situations, ensuring a continuum of care and helping them to develop to their fullest potential,” he explained.
Mr. Paul Semeh also seized the opportunity to advise these street-connected children to endeavour to acquire employable skills or go back to school in order to come meaningful citizens in the future.
He also appealed to all relevant stakeholders on street-connected children to devise strategies to curb streetism in Ghana.
He lamented the plight of street-connected children and urged all well-meaning Ghanaians to come on board to help stop streetism which has spread throughout the country.
Some of these Street Children who spoke to this Journalist commended the Street Children Empowerment Foundation for not neglecting them and making them to aware that there the world has set aside International Day for Street Children (IDSC) to help address issues confronting them.
However, the majority of these children appeal to the government and philanthropists to come to their aid since life is becoming unbearable for them.
Some of the children displayed placards, which read: “Give Street children a safe place to sleep and access to education,” “Until every child is safe, no child is safe,” “Our primary concern is the safety of street children,” and “Being on the street does not mean we have no rights.”
International Day for Street Children (IDSC) provides opportunities for various civil society groups and human rights organizations to spread awareness of the plights of children in street-connected situations throughout the world and provide them with a powerful voice so their rights are not ignored.
International Street Children’s Day has been set aside to be observed on April 12 every year to raise awareness about the hardships that street-connected persons go through.
Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/newsghana.com.gh
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