CHILDREN PETITION GOVERNMENT OVER THE HARSH LIVING CONDITIONS AS UGANDA MARKS THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF STREET- CONNECTED CHILDREN
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Children living and working on the streets have petitioned government over the harsh situations that they continue to face. Led by Owen Timbe, the team of five children handed over their petition to the executive director of the National Children’s authority Mr, Martin Kiiza as Uganda joined the rest of the world to celebrate the international day of children in street situations. “We are beaten and constantly arrested by police. We don’t have food and or where to go, our prayer is that government sets up a place that we can call home because we are tired of the streets”. The letter read in part. Children also say that because of all this, many of them are forced to use drugs and substances. The director National Children’s authority Mr. Martin Kiiza promised to deliver the children’s letter and blamed all this on the violence and unfavorable conditions at home that are forcing the children to run away. “As government we have noticed that the problem is in the homes and we are rolling out a mass campaign to create awareness on the need for the parents to take responsibility for their children and avoid situations that force children to run away” Mr. Kiiza told the media. Meanwhile the executive director Uganda Child rights Network, Damon Wamara says that currently the number of children on the streets is above 30,000 and the number continues to rise. “You can not believe that the number of children living and working on the streets is now above 300,000. What happened to homes. Homes are no longer safe spaces for children”. Speaking at the same event, the acting commissioner, child and family protection department at the Uganda police, Maureen Atuhaire said there is need for more training of the police officers especially those in the general duties department on how to handle children in street situation to deal away with the brutality against children. “WE need more trainings on protection for all officers and periodic meetings with all stakeholders to assess progress in dealing with the children on the streets. This will help cover all the gaps that have been mentioned by the children and civil society”. She emphasized. Uganda today joined the rest of the world to mark the international day of children living and working on the streets under the themes “Access to services”. Many street-connected children lack access to basic needs like food shelter and education on top of the constant attacks from adults who live on the streets.