Campaigners highlight deaths of street children at UN

By staff writers
15 Apr 2003

Campaigners highlight deaths of street children at UN

-15/4/03

In an oral statement to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, a Christian campaign group has highlighted the habitual killing of street children in Brazil, Honduras and Guatemala.

In Salvador alone, the capital of Brazil's Bahia state, the Jubilee Campaign said that between 1991 and 2000, 1,453 children and youth were murdered.

According to the organisation many locals regard the street children as no more than vermin and see their deaths as a form of social cleansing.

Jubilee also highlighted the commercial sexual exploitation which many poor Brazilian children face and informed the U.N Commission that in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, there are an estimated 150,000 child prostitutes, controlled by a strong and organised mafia, working in bars, prostitution houses, massage salons and hotels.

The campaigners told the U.N Commission that in Honduras, the Children's Welfare Organisation, Casa Alianza, has documented the murders and extrajudicial executions of more than 1,600 street children and youth since 1998. Less than 5% of the murders have resulted in any conviction.

The Commission was also informed that in Vietnam, the indigenous Degar people of the Central Highlands, face intense and systematic human rights abuses from the Vietnamese authorities including extrajudicial executions and anti-Christian persecution.

Degar children are often prevented by the authorities from having an education if their parents are Christians.

Jubilee called on the U.N Human Rights Commission to pressure the Vietnamese government to stop their human rights abuses against the Degar people and to send the relevant U.N Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights to investigate the situation there.

In another speech to the U.N Commission, Jubilee also highlighted the appalling plight of North Korean refugees in China.

There are an estimated 300,000 North Korean refugees hiding in China, having fled famine and persecution. The Chinese authorities' response when they apprehend these refugees is to forcibly repatriate them, despite the real risks they face of imprisonment, torture and execution in North Korea.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has a bilateral agreement with China which gives it the right to unimpeded access to refugees. However, such access to the North Korean refugees has been denied to UNHCR by the Chinese authorities.

According to the bilateral agreement, the UNHCR is free to invoke binding arbitration on this point but has failed to do so. In its speech to the Commission, Jubilee Campaign condemned the Chinese government's forced repatriation of North Korean refugees and UNHCR's failure to bring China's misconduct to arbitration and stated, " One has to wonder just what the body count needs to be before the UNHCR will seriously stand up for its mandate."

click hereIn an oral statement to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, a Christian campaign group has highlighted the habitual killing of street children in Brazil, Honduras and Guatemala.

In Salvador alone, the capital of Brazil's Bahia state, the Jubilee Campaign said that between 1991 and 2000, 1,453 children and youth were murdered.

According to the organisation many locals regard the street children as no more than vermin and see their deaths as a form of social cleansing.

Jubilee also highlighted the commercial sexual exploitation which many poor Brazilian children face and informed the U.N Commission that in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, there are an estimated 150,000 child prostitutes, controlled by a strong and organised mafia, working in bars, prostitution houses, massage salons and hotels.

The campaigners told the U.N Commission that in Honduras, the Children's Welfare Organisation, Casa Alianza, has documented the murders and extrajudicial executions of more than 1,600 street children and youth since 1998. Less than 5% of the murders have resulted in any conviction.

The Commission was also informed that in Vietnam, the indigenous Degar people of the Central Highlands, face intense and systematic human rights abuses from the Vietnamese authorities including extrajudicial executions and anti-Christian persecution.

Degar children are often prevented by the authorities from having an education if their parents are Christians.

Jubilee called on the U.N Human Rights Commission to pressure the Vietnamese government to stop their human rights abuses against the Degar people and to send the relevant U.N Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights to investigate the situation there.

In another speech to the U.N Commission, Jubilee also highlighted the appalling plight of North Korean refugees in China.

There are an estimated 300,000 North Korean refugees hiding in China, having fled famine and persecution. The Chinese authorities' response when they apprehend these refugees is to forcibly repatriate them, despite the real risks they face of imprisonment, torture and execution in North Korea.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has a bilateral agreement with China which gives it the right to unimpeded access to refugees. However, such access to the North Korean refugees has been denied to UNHCR by the Chinese authorities.

According to the bilateral agreement, the UNHCR is free to invoke binding arbitration on this point but has failed to do so. In its speech to the Commission, Jubilee Campaign condemned the Chinese government's forced repatriation of North Korean refugees and UNHCR's failure to bring China's misconduct to arbitration and stated, " One has to wonder just what the body count needs to be before the UNHCR will seriously stand up for its mandate."

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 England & Wales License. Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.