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NHRC notice to Delhi Govt on plight of street children

The National Human Rights Commission issued a notice (on 24 Dec. 2010) to the Delhi government following reports that the city has no dedicated night shelters for street children.

Taking suo motu cognisance of media reports, the rights body has asked Chief Secretary of Delhi to submit a report within two weeks detailing on the guidelines framed by the government for care and protection of homeless children in the national capital.

The NHRC took note of recent media reports which quoted a survey by an NGO claiming that more than 10,000 children in Delhi were living on the streets of the city alone.

"Most of these homeless children live outside railway stations and bus stands where they find odd jobs easily. Out of 76 temporary shelters in Delhi, not one is dedicated for them.

"It is alleged that the children are not allowed to enter the night shelters meant for adults and families. It seems that the Delhi Government has forgotten the homeless children," a statement by the Commission said citing reports.

It said if the contents of the media reports, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of the homeless children in Delhi.

In addition to seeking response of the Chief Secretary on the points raised in the media reports, the Commission has asked him to provide information in his report on whether the Government of Delhi has framed any guidelines for care and protection of homeless children in Delhi, particularly for winter.

It has also asked the CS to explain whether there are any periodic surveys conducted to assess the number of such homeless children living on roads, outside railway stations or bus stands.

The rights panel has also sought details on whether the government has any scheme for providing separate shelter homes to the homeless children - boys and girls; and the number of children staying in the shelter homes meant for adults in Delhi.

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