Over the last few years CSC has been key in advocating on behalf of street-connected children at an international policy level – in particular at the United Nations. Our aim is to increase awareness and knowledge among policy makers of the specific challenges street children face, leading to the introduction and implementation of tailored policies and legislation.

In 2014, in a ground-breaking decision, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva agreed to develop a General Comment on children in street situations, following years of advocacy from CSC.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the key piece of international law on children’s rights. It describes what children need to survive, grow and reach their potential in life. The General Comment on children in street situations will lay out how the Convention applies to street children. It will be the first piece of international law on street children and, when completed, a powerful tool for advocates to use to push for street children’s rights.

CSC is Coordinator of the Advisory Group to the Committee’s Working Group on the General Comment and as such is the key NGO working on the General Comment. In 2016, CSC supported consultations on the General Comment with more than 1,000 street-connected children and young adults – the largest number ever to be consulted face-to-face in the development of a General Comment. After the General Comment is completed in 2017, CSC will work to promote its implementation.

CSC also engages in other high-level UN processes, giving expertise on the issues affecting street children. In July 2015, CSC’s Advocacy Manager Elinor Milne participated in a consultation held by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence Against Children, emphasizing the effect of armed violence on the daily lives of street children. In November 2015, she attended the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing’s consultation on homelessness and human rights in Buenos Aires, highlighting issues around homelessness for street-connected children.

Previously, CSC participated in the preparation of the 2011 UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution which specifically addressed street children. The Resolution (A/HRC/RES/16/12) attracted more co-sponsors than almost any other since the creation of the UNHRC in 2006 and was unanimously adopted. Following on from the Resolution, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was invited to conduct a global study on street children, on which CSC was appointed as lead consultant. During the process, CSC worked with five of its network members to produce a ‘Children’s Voices’ annex to the report which explored street children’s perceptions of themselves, their access to support and their ability to exercise their rights. The final OHCHR report ‘Protection and promotion of the rights of street children working and/or living on the streets’ was presented to the UNHRC during its 19th session in March 2012 and has gone on to inform CSC’s strategic focus.

For more information on CSC’s international advocacy and work with the UN please contact elinor@streetchildren.org.