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International Day of the African Child

16 June 2011 – This year the Day focus is on children in street situation under the theme “All Together for Urgent Actions in Favour of Street Children”.· The 2011 observance of this Day seeks to contribute to widespread awareness of the dangers street children face,·promote the·taking of urgent steps to·protect them and determine strategies for providing effective child protection and care.

The International Day of the African Child has been established in 1991 by the African Union, remembering the protest of thousands of black school children of·Soweto,·South Africa. These children were protesting against the inferior quality of their education and demanded their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of young boys and girls were shot down by security forces. To honour the memory of those killed and the courage of all those who marched, the Day of the African Child has been celebrated on 16 June every year since 1991.

Street children have been in the international agenda this year. The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) dedicated a day to specifically discuss street children in March 2011 and unanimously adopted the accompanying resolution on street children’s rights – the first since 1994 (A/HRC/RES/16/12) and on the 12th of April the International Day for Street Children was launched, and celebrated in over 33 locations worldwide by street children, policy makers (including the UN), NGOs, corporates, schools and celebrities.

The International Day of the African Child aligns itself to these great milestones for street children’s rights. Hopefully the increasing pressure placed on governments will encourage them to make understanding and fulfilling the rights of street children a priority.

DCI in Africa is actively working in support of all those children that as a consequence of their street life come in conflict with law and are subjected to arbitrary detentions, torture and any sort of violations. DCI struggles to make their rights being respected and support children and their community through socio-legal defence centres and advocacy and lobbying activities.

DCI welcomes the theme of this year to celebrate the African child as its aim is to·highlight the needs of some of the most vulnerable and socially excluded young people in the world.