Street children are often called ‘hidden children’. Being hidden, they are at higher risk of being abused, exploited and neglected. Homelessness and street life have extremely detrimental effects on children. Their unstable lifestyles, lack of medical care, and inadequate living conditions increase young people’s susceptibility to chronic illnesses such as respiratory or ear infections and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Drug use by children on the streets is common as they look for means to numb the pain and deal with the hardships associated with street life. In 2007, an MWCD report on child abuse found that 65.9% of the street children lived with their families. Out of these children, 51.84% slept on the sidewalks, 17.48% slept in shelters and 30.67% slept in other locations such as under flyovers, bridges, railway platforms, bus stops, parks, marketplaces, etc. 66.8% of children reported being physically abused by family members and others. A study conducted by Save the Children in 2013-14 on street children in four cities: Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bhubaneshwar and Jaipur (with a sample size of 4,224 children) found that 90.6% of the children surveyed reported that they faced risks on the street in the form of threat to limb/life, police harassment, parental abuse and sexual abuse. Overall, 9.3 % of the children did not respond when asked about the risks faced by them on the street.
What is the 1951 Refugee Convention? The 1951 Geneva Convention is the main international instrument of refugee law. The Convention clearly spells out who a refugee is and the kind of legal protection, other assistance and social rights he or she should receive from the countries who have signed the document. The Convention also defines a refugee’s obligations to host governments and certain categories or people, such as war criminals, who do not qualify for refugee status. The Convention was limited to protecting mainly European refugees in the aftermath of World War II, but another document, the 1967 Protocol, expanded the scope of the Convention as the problem of displacement spread around the world.
The shocking incident happened on June 19, when 59-year-old P Jayaraj and his 31-year-old son Bennicks (Fenix) were picked up for questioning by the cops in Sathankulam police for violating lockdown rules and keeping their mobile shop open beyond the permitted time. It is being alleged that they were brutally thrashed, sodomised and tortured by the police while in custody, leading to their deaths. Eyewitnesses have claimed that the cops inserted metal objects into one of the victims’ rectum, according to India Today and many such media reports .