Respect child rights, says Bidal, human rights defender
By: Khamis Cosmas Lokudu.
Human Rights defender Bidal James thought there is no definition of street children, and it cannot be assumed that all children on the streets were homeless.
The reason for existence of street children in Juba is related to family poverty and fundamental question of state values on governance. However, the question of culture, religious beliefs and other subtle factors does not need to be underrated.
Many teenagers are not abandoned, but they contribute to the income of their householders by doing unwanted activities like begging, selling, washing cars. “I would see street children in Juba as part of strategy of the poor to diversify incomes “he stressed.
According to Bidal, South Sudan has ratified International and regional treaties and conventions including the Convention on the Rights of the Child which legally obliges the state to protect the rights of all children including those who are in conflict with the law. He added, South Sudan Child Act 2008 has a mandate to protect the rights of children in South Sudan.
Sunday Mogga Executive Director for grass Root Women Network alleged that, the obligation to take care for children was exclusively the role of parents and they should be able to understand why their children favor street life compared to home, These children are not foreigners in South Sudan and parents ought to take blame from their children by allowing them loiter around the town, “these kids pose threat to the public she claimed.
In a separate interview, Victoria Benjamin, a resident of Muniki believed she was more concerned about the idling kids wandering in Juba and sleeping on verandas; “if we leave these children to move on the streets like Toronto boys and niggas,” we shall destroy our country. She further anticipated saying, in the next 20years to come the current generation will retire and the present children will be the one to lead the country.
In her request to the government, Benjamin urged the authorities to build reformatory schools to train these children on different disciplines and take some of them to government schools because it’s affordable.
A 16 year old Child in Mahata Yei suburb puts it clear that, he decided to join street life because he came long way from Eastern Equatoria region and he has no relatives to stay with in Juba, as a results he ended up sleeping on verandas and every morning foot to either Konkokyo or Custom market to look for small work in order to earn a living. Some children in Juba have parents but they decided to stay in the streets around the city. The child claimed the national government should look into the conditions of the street children and help where necessary the child added.
The Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011 (amended) Bill of Rights article 17 section (1) clearly stipulates that every child has the right (a) to life, survival and development, (c) to know and be cared for by his or her parents or legal guardian section (3) says, All levels of the government shall accord special protection to orphans and other vulnerable children; child abduction shall be regulated by law.