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SCEF Int highlights plight of street-connected children, calls for collaboration to fight menace

SCEF Int highlights plight of street-connected children, calls for collaboration to fight menace

The Street Children Empowerment Foundation (SCEF Int) is urging government to prioritize the protection of street-connected children in the country.

The Executive Director of SCEF Int, Mr. Paul Semeh, in an open letter addressed to the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Lariba Zuweira Abudu, highlighted the plights and harm of children in street-connected situations and reiterated the need for collaboration between the government and civil society organizations to keep them safe and protected.

According to Mr. Semeh, it is impossible to walk or drive through the principal streets of Accra without being approached by a child in street situation to render a service of either wiping the screens of cars, selling of water and other edibles or begging for alms.

He argues that these children experience abuse, exploitation, stigmatization, and criminalization but have no trusted adult or structured institution to rely on, and vulnerable girls who get abused sexually are most often left to their fate uncared for and sometimes without medical attention-due to the high cost of medical examination.

“Hon Minister, we acknowledge the countless efforts by successive governments and your Ministry to address the street situation through social protection programmes, however, with the identified disconnect between law and practice, a lot more needs to be done in upholding, implementing and exercising the rights and well-being of children, especially those in street-connected situations within the 2030 Agenda and the Children’s Act, 1998 Act 560, Child and Family Welfare Policy among other children’s protection policies,” the letter said.

Mr. Semeh further acknowledged the efforts by successive governments and the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection to address the street situation through social protection programs, but emphasized the 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 seeks to provide comprehensive and authoritative guidance to States on using a holistic, child rights approach to prevent children from depending on the streets for their survival and development.

SCEF Int is requesting that government takes action to keep street-connected children safe by fast-tracking the signing of the contract with the service providers for the commencement of the Ghana Education Outcome Project (GEOP) Lot 7, recognizing effective interventions to keep street-connected children safe, and implementing effectively the law to provide free medical care and support from domestic violence victims support fund.

The letter coincides with the International Day for Street Children, which falls on April 12th every year. The day 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 voice so their rights are not ignored.

The Street Children Empowerment Foundation hopes that the government will prioritize investment in policies and initiatives to keep street-connected children safe and demonstrate the country’s commitment to protecting all children.

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