A total of 327 children and young people in street situations from 32 countries were consulted in the development of General Comment 21 on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, issued by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. General Comment 21 "provides authoritative guidance to States on developing comprehensive, long-term national strategies on children in street situations using a holistic, child rights approach and addressing both prevention and response in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child." While the Convention does not explicitly reference children in street situations, the Committee states "all of its provisions are applicable to children in street situations, who experience violations of a large majority of the Convention’s articles."
In General Comment 21, the Committee underlines the wishes of children in street situations, offers key observations on the population, and makes recommendations for States based on a child rights framework. The Committee identifies key articles of the Convention in relation to children in street situations, within the context of ___ themes: child rights approach; civil rights and freedoms; family environment and alternative care; disability and health; education, leisure and cultural activities; and violence against children and special protection measures. Finally, the Committee calls for the wide dissemination of General Comment 21 and the international cooperation and commitment in preventing children from entering street situations as well as protecting children already in street situations.
The Committee offers three objectives for General Comment 21:
(a) To clarify the obligations of States in applying a child rights approach to strategies and initiatives for children in street situations;
(b) To provide comprehensive and authoritative guidance to States on using a holistic, child rights approach to: prevent children experiencing rights violations and the lack of choices that results in them having to depend on the streets for their survival and development; and to promote and protect the rights of children already in street situations, ensuring a continuum of care and helping them to develop to their fullest potential;
(c) To identify the implications of particular articles of the Convention for children in street situations to enhance respect for them as rights holders and full citizens, and to enhance understanding of children’s connections to the street.