Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

17 February 2013

Egypt: ECCR Demands Amending Child Rights Article

The Egyptian Coalition for Child Rights (ECCR) demanded the amendment the article which regulates the status of children in the constitution on Sunday.

The Coalition requests granting children all the rights which have been omitted from the article that prohibits child labor and provide children with legal protection.

ECCR said in a statement that street children are entitled to protection from physical and sexual violence, negligence and exploitation within their families.

The statement stressed that domestic violence is the main factor that children resort to the streets.

Article 70 stipulates that "Every child, from the moment of birth, has the right to a proper name, family care, adequate nutrition, clothing, shelter, health services, and religious and educational development.

The state shall care and protect the child in the case of the loss of family. The state also safeguards the rights of disabled children, and their rehabilitation and integration into society.

Child labor is prohibited before passing the age of compulsory education, in jobs that are not fit for a child's age, or that prevent the child from continuing education.

A child may only be detained for a specified period, must be provided with legal assistance, and be held in a convenient location, taking into account separation according to gender, ages and types of crime, and be held away from places of adult detention."

The statement stressed on the need to work with all the involved state institutions and civil society to provide an intact family environment to children.

The coalition recommends that street children go under the umbrella of health insurance.

The statement also demands activating the decision of the Ministry of Health to treat street children free of charge without handing them over to the police after treatment.

The statement called for activating article eight of the child's law that ensures protecting the children at risk.

"The children are still exposed to excessive violence in police stations and places of detention. They are held responsible for vandalism and hooliganism," said the statement condemning the practices of the ministry of interior which deliberately violates the constitution and the child law.

Meanwhile, Article 70 does not prohibit child trafficking and sexual exploitation.

According to Amnesty International, Egypt's constitution does not shield minors from early marriage and permits child labor.

"The article does not ensure children are protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous, as required by the CRC", Amnesty International said, adding, "The constitutional provisions also fail to comply with other treaties on children's rights ratified by Egypt, including the Minimum Age Convention, and the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention."

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