The plight of street children, G.A. res. 49/212, 49 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 236, U.N. Doc. A/49/49 (1994).

The General Assembly,

its resolution 48/136 of 20 December 1993,

Recalling also Commission on Human Rights resolution 1994/93 of 9 March 1994,

Welcoming the special attention given to the rights of children in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, in particular in section I, paragraph 21,

Recalling the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by its resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989, as a major contribution to the protection of the rights of all children, including street children,

Reaffirming that children are a particularly vulnerable group in society whose rights require special protection, and that children living under especially difficult circumstances, such as street children, deserve special attention, protection and assistance from their families and communities and as part of national efforts and international cooperation,

Recognizing that all children have the right to health, shelter and education, to an adequate standard of living and to freedom from violence and harassment,

Deeply concerned about the growing number of street children worldwide and the squalid conditions in which these children are often forced to live,

Profoundly concerned that the killing of and violence against street children threaten the most fundamental right of all, the right to life,

Alarmed at continuing serious offences of this nature against street children,

Recognizing the duty and responsibility of Governments to investigate all cases of offences against street children and to punish offenders,

Recognizing also that legislation per se is not enough to prevent violations of human rights, including those of street children, and that Governments should implement their laws and complement legislative measures with effective action, inter alia, in the fields of law enforcement and in the administration of justice, and in social, educational and public health programmes,

Welcoming the efforts made by some Governments to take effective action to address the question of street children,

Welcoming also the publicity given to and the increased awareness of the plight of street children, and the achievements of non-governmental organizations in promoting the rights of those children and in providing practical assistance to improve their situation, and expressing its appreciation of their continued efforts,

Welcoming further the valuable work of the United Nations Children's Fund and its National Committees in reducing the suffering of street children,

Noting with appreciation the important work carried out in this field by the United Nations, in particular the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme,

Bearing in mind the diverse causes of the emergence and marginalization of street children, including poverty, rural-to-urban migration, unemployment, broken families, intolerance, exploitation and war, and that such causes are often aggravated and their solution made more difficult by serious socio-economic difficulties,

Recognizing that the prevention and solution of certain aspects of this problem could be facilitated in the context of economic and social development,

Bearing in mind that in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action all States are urged, with the support of international cooperation, to address the acute problem of children in especially difficult circumstances, and that national and international mechanisms and programmes should be strengthened for the defence and protection of children, including street children,

1. Expresses grave concern at the continued growth in the number of incidents worldwide and at reports of street children being involved in and affected by serious crime, drug abuse, violence and prostitution;

2. Urges Governments to continue actively to seek comprehensive solutions to tackle the problems of street children and to take measures to restore their full participation in society, and to provide, inter alia, adequate nutrition, shelter, health care and education;

3. Strongly urges all Governments to guarantee the respect for fundamental human rights, particularly the right to life, and to take urgent measures to prevent the killing of street children and to combat torture and violence against them;

4. Emphasizes that strict compliance with the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child constitutes a significant step towards solving the problems of street children, and calls upon all States that have not done so to become parties to the Convention as a matter of priority;

5. Calls upon the international community to support, through effective international cooperation, the efforts of States to improve the situation of street children, and encourages States parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in preparing their reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, to bear this problem in mind and to consider requesting technical advice and assistance for initiatives aimed at improving the situation of street children, in accordance with article 45 of the Convention;

6. Commends the Committee on the Rights of the Child for the attention it pays in its monitoring activities to the situation of children who, to survive, are forced to live and work in the streets, and reiterates its invitation to the Committee to consider the possibility of a general comment on street children;

7. Recommends that the Committee on the Rights of the Child and other relevant treaty-monitoring bodies give attention to this growing problem when examining reports from States parties;

8. Invites Governments, United Nations bodies and organizations, including the United Nations Children's Fund, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to cooperate with each other to ensure greater awareness and more effective action to solve the problem of street children by, among other measures, initiating and supporting development projects that can have a positive impact on the situation of street children;

9. Calls upon special rapporteurs, special representatives and working groups of the Commission on Human Rights and of the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, within their mandates, to pay particular attention to the plight of street children;

10. Decides to consider the question further at its fiftieth session under the agenda item entitled "Promotion and protection of the rights of children".

94th plenary meeting
23 December 1994

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