United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

23 December 1994


                                                 94th plenary meeting
                                                 23 December 1994
            49/212. The plight of street children
      The General Assembly,
      Recalling its resolution 48/136 of 20 December 1993,
      Recalling also Commission on Human Rights resolution 1994/93 of 9 March
      Welcoming the special attention given to the rights of children in the
Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, in particular in section I,
paragraph 21,
      Recalling the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by its
resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989, as a major contribution to the
protection of the rights of all children, including street children,
      Reaffirming that children are a particularly vulnerable group in society
whose rights require special protection, and that children living under
especially difficult circumstances, such as street children, deserve special
attention, protection and assistance from their families and communities and
as part of national efforts and international cooperation,
      Recognizing that all children have the right to health, shelter and
education, to an adequate standard of living and to freedom from violence and
      Deeply concerned about the growing number of street children worldwide
and the squalid conditions in which these children are often forced to live,
      Profoundly concerned that the killing of and violence against street
children threaten the most fundamental right of all, the right to life,
      Alarmed at continuing serious offences of this nature against street
      Recognizing the duty and responsibility of Governments to investigate
all cases of offences against street children and to punish offenders,
      Recognizing also that legislation per se is not enough to prevent
violations of human rights, including those of street children, and that
Governments should implement their laws and complement legislative measures
with effective action, inter alia, in the fields of law enforcement and in the
administration of justice, and in social, educational and public health
      Welcoming the efforts made by some Governments to take effective action
to address the question of street children,
      Welcoming also the publicity given to and the increased awareness of the
plight of street children, and the achievements of non-governmental
organizations in promoting the rights of those children and in providing
practical assistance to improve their situation, and expressing its
appreciation of their continued efforts,
      Welcoming further the valuable work of the United Nations Children's
Fund and its National Committees in reducing the suffering of street children,
      Noting with appreciation the important work carried out in this field by
the United Nations, in particular the Committee on the Rights of the Child,
the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the sale of
children, child prostitution and child pornography and the United Nations
International Drug Control Programme,
      Bearing in mind the diverse causes of the emergence and marginalization
of street children, including poverty, rural-to-urban migration, unemployment,
broken families, intolerance, exploitation and war, and that such causes are
often aggravated and their solution made more difficult by serious
socio-economic difficulties,
      Recognizing that the prevention and solution of certain aspects of this
problem could be facilitated in the context of economic and social
      Bearing in mind that in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
all States are urged, with the support of international cooperation, to
address the acute problem of children in especially difficult circumstances,
and that national and international mechanisms and programmes should be
strengthened for the defence and protection of children, including street
      1.    Expresses grave concern at the continued growth in the number of
incidents worldwide and at reports of street children being involved in and
affected by serious crime, drug abuse, violence and prostitution;
      2.    Urges Governments to continue actively to seek comprehensive
solutions to tackle the problems of street children and to take measures to
restore their full participation in society, and to provide, inter alia,
adequate nutrition, shelter, health care and education;
      3.    Strongly urges all Governments to guarantee the respect for
fundamental human rights, particularly the right to life, and to take urgent
measures to prevent the killing of street children and to combat torture and
violence against them;
      4.    Emphasizes that strict compliance with the provisions of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child constitutes a significant step towards
solving the problems of street children, and calls upon all States that have
not done so to become parties to the Convention as a matter of priority;
      5.    Calls upon the international community to support, through
effective international cooperation, the efforts of States to improve the
situation of street children, and encourages States parties to the Convention
on the Rights of the Child, in preparing their reports to the Committee on the
Rights of the Child, to bear this problem in mind and to consider requesting
technical advice and assistance for initiatives aimed at improving the
situation of street children, in accordance with article 45 of the Convention;
      6.    Commends the Committee on the Rights of the Child for the
attention it pays in its monitoring activities to the situation of children
who, to survive, are forced to live and work in the streets, and reiterates
its invitation to the Committee to consider the possibility of a general
comment on street children;
      7.    Recommends that the Committee on the Rights of the Child and other
relevant treaty-monitoring bodies give attention to this growing problem when
examining reports from States parties;
      8.    Invites Governments, United Nations bodies and organizations,
including the United Nations Children's Fund, and intergovernmental and
non-governmental organizations to cooperate with each other to ensure greater
awareness and more effective action to solve the problem of street children
by, among other measures, initiating and supporting development projects that
can have a positive impact on the situation of street children;
      9.    Calls upon special rapporteurs, special representatives and
working groups of the Commission on Human Rights and of the Subcommission on
Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, within their
mandates, to pay particular attention to the plight of street children;
      10.   Decides to consider the question further at its fiftieth session
under the agenda item entitled "Promotion and protection of the rights of