LONDON (AlertNet) - Governments should work harder to recognise the rights of an estimated 100 million children worldwide who are forced to sleep and work on the streets, say the organisers of the "Louder Together" campaign.
The Consortium for Street Children, made up of 60 member groups working in 130 countries, marked the first International Day for Street Children on Tuesday with a range of events around the world intended to create a collective voice to promote awareness.
In London, projected images of street children flashed on the outside of the National Theatre, while campaigners, endorsed by British film director Danny Boyle and English footballer Steven Gerrard congregated inside the building on the south bank of the River Thames.
"The establishment of a day like this will remind us at each calendar year how important it is that every life is significant, it doesn't matter what its prospects are, what its background is, it's equally significant to our own, and we must do everything to unlock the rights that belong to that life, enforce them and also unlock the potential of that life," Boyle, whose 2008 film "Slumdog Millionaire" about children living on the streets of Mumbai won eight Academy Awards, told AlertNet.
Organisers are calling on supporters to sign up to the campaign online at www.streetchildren.org.uk
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child established in 1989, sets out the basic human rights to which children everywhere are entitled: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life.
"Although there is a U.N. convention on the rights of the child, quite often governments don't actually follow that through into their policies and practises as they relate to children, and through our work we seek to help address that issue," Sally Shire, chief executive of the Consortium for Street Children, supported by international insurance firm Aviva, told AlertNet at the event.