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Date: Fri, 13 Jun 97 10:50:07 CDT
From: rich%pencil@VM.MARIST.EDU (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Central America: Child Rights Under Scrutiny

/** hr.child: 52.0 **/
** Topic: No Subject Given **
** Written 10:42 AM Jun 11, 1997 by in cdp:hr.child **
From: "Casa Alianza - Regional Office" <>

Child Rights Under Scrutiny

By Casa Alianza - Regional Office <>, Press Release 6 June, 1997


According to regulations of the Convention of Children's Rights, this year, all Central American governments have to inform the Committee on Children's Rights of the United Nations, about the reality of the situation of children in their own national territories before the month of September.

According to article 44, each one of the 175 countries and territories that have ratified the Convention, has to present a written report to the Committee within a period of two years after the Convention has taken place. Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador and Honduras ratified the Convention in 1990, therefore they have to report their ways of implementation of the Convention before November of this year.

The Committee on Human Rights of the United Nations, in its 53th period of sessions, which took place in Geneva this past April, demanded at the time that each country paid special attention to the situation of boys and girls, particularly those who live in the streets, figure that according to UN's own sources, come to 40 millions just in Latin America alone.

"To all the states to adopt measures for reintegration of street kids back into society and to provide nutrition, housing, adequate health and education services, to take into account that these children are particularly vulnerable to all forms of abuse, explotation and negligence, and encourages the states to keep in mind the situation of street children when preparing the reports for the Committee," says the recent report of the Committee on Human Rights of Geneva.

The Human Rights organization also insisted that "all states urgently adopt effective measures to prevent the killing of street children and to combat torture and acts of violence against them."

" The sad part is that all governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can present a joint report to the United Nations", explained Bruce Harris, Casa Alianza's Regional Director for Latin America, a NGO defender of the rights of boys and girls of the streets in Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica. "It's not that we don't want it, but after reading the inform of governments stating that everything is wonderful for the kids, we asked ourselves if we live in the same planet."

The governments present and oficial report, and the NGOs present an " alternative one" that normally give a much more critical vision and that according to many, much more realistic account of the dramatic situation that children face in these regions.

"We are happy that this year the Committee has asked that street children should be given special attention. By God, they deserve it", said Englishman, Harris. Casa Alianza in Guatemala has more than 300 criminal demands against dozens of national and private policemen and members of the army of that country, for the torture an killing of street children. Casa Alianza has also three demands against the State of Honduras before the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights for authority abuse against their own children. "Governments have to understant that they not only have to sign the conventions for public relations'purposes only. They have to also take it seriously, and this is one of the roles of NGOs, to make sure that children are really been benefited".

For additional information, please contact Bruce Harris, Casa Alianza at the Regional Office in San Jose, Costa Rica at (506)253-5439 or to <bruce@casa-alianza.orgɬ

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Casa Alianza/Covenant House Latin America
SJO 1039
PO Box 025216, Miami FL 33102-5216 USA

Tel. in Costa Rica: +506-253-5439 or 253-6338
Fax in Costa Rica: +506-224-5689

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