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(ANS – Quito) – On the Agenda for the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council, being held in Geneva between 27 February and 23 March, there is the presentation of a global report on young boys and girls who work and live on the streets. An open letter has been sent to the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights, Mrs Navanethem Pillay, signed by 74 experts from the academic world and from civil society around the world, dissenting from the proposal and suggesting a new approach.
The letter coordinated by Cristiano Morsolin for Latin America and Antonella Invernizzi and Brian Milne for Europe, Africa and Asia, opens expressing an immediate concern: “We have examined the documents and the material presented on the site and we believe a that a wider and better prepared proposal is required in order to support and promote valid and effective policies so as to promote the rights of children who work and/or live on the streets; lacking are some elements which require deeper consideration, as for example the importance of recognising the economic, social and cultural rights of children and of adolescents.”
In addition, the open letter indicates the limitations of the study which only examines the years 2000 to 2010, neglecting all the previous academic material produced. “All the options arising from the research studies and experience prior to 2000 are not taken into consideration, which we believe ought to be made available for the planning and formulation of policies and programmes. We do not know whether this is intentional or not, but nevertheless it seems that an approach based on human rights omitted from the protectionist and/or assistential perspective does not give a complete view.”
The experts propose a fuller examination of: the demands arising from research and the methodologies employed; the involvement of children and adolescents; the use of the research material and the experience acquired in the last 30 years; a consideration of the variety of economic, social, cultural and political contexts; an approach based on human rights which are to guide governments and organisations.
“We believe that it is fundamental to this process that the all the approaches and all the methodologies are taken into consideration” the letter addressed to the current session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva emphasises.
Among those who signed the letter are the Rector of the Salesian Polytechnical University of Ecuador, Fr Javier Herran and Prof. Rene Unda, coordinator of the Master’s programme on ’infancy at the same University. In addition, Cristiano Morsolin is a lecturer at the Salesian Polytechnical University in Quito.