This is how the international network “Consortium for Street Children” launched their new platform on street-connected children’s rights, a very useful and interesting tool to help street-connected children and street educators all around the world.
The Legal Atlas focusses on three topics.The first topic, status offences, explores the reasons why children are arrested and punished when they spend time on the streets. Activities such as begging and loitering in public places are common survival behaviours for street-connected children, but are considered as criminal offences in a lot of countries. In the General Comment on Children in Street Situations of the United Nations, it is stated that governments should ensure that they do not have laws which criminalise street-connected children for things they do to survive.
The second topic on police round-ups focusses on police arrests or removals of a group of people from the streets. The police should not harass street-connected children or remove them from the streets without a lawful, necessary and proportionate justification for doing so.
The General Comment advises the police to focus on protecting street-connected children rather than punishing them for being on the streets.
The third topic, legal identity, explores the fact why many young people don’t have the necessary legal identity documents which can give access to basic services like education, health, justice and welfare. For street-connected children, it can be particularly difficult to obtain legal identity documents.The General Comment advises that late registration should be allowed and that temporary identity documents should be provided for unregistered children.
The Legal Atlas allows you to scroll a world map while getting info on these three topics. Users can easily select different countries and find out how street-connected children are treated there. For example: if we select Ecuador, we see it’s not illegal for the police to round up street-connected children and children can even be detained after being rounded up by the police.
It’s also possible to make comparisons between different countries. When choosing the topic of begging, we see that it’s legal in Ecuador and the Democratic Republic of Congo, but not in India. If you click on the yes/no tiles, you get more detailed information on the laws and policies in that country.
The website proves to be very user-friendly and is a real breakthrough in the work with street-connected children. As our expertise is mostly in non-formal education and training, we are delighted to find this crucial and complementary information in one place. This way, Mobile School can easily redirect our new and existing partners towards this invaluable source of information about the rights of street-connected children.
Thumbs up to the Consortium for Street Children for the great work! For more information regarding the Legal Atlas for Street Children or if you want to try it yourself, check https://www.streetchildren.org/legal-atlas/about-the-atlas/