November 15, 2017

ABA hosting international summit on legal rights for street-connected youth in Sao Paulo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2017 — The American Bar Association is convening nongovernmental organizations from across the world to address the needs of street-connected children around the globe suffering from abuse and neglect, sexual exploitation, drug abuse, the effects of global conflict and other miseries at the International Summit on the Legal Rights of Street-Connected Children and Youth in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 28-29.  

The summit will focus on strategies to implement new mandates from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child through its General Comment on Children in Street Situations. The summit will build on legislative advocacy efforts begun at the first International Summit on the Legal Needs of Street Youth convened by the ABA in June 2015 in London.

The event will be held at the Sao Paulo office of the law firm Trench Rossi Watanabe/Baker McKenzie.

The summit will be attended by more than 100 international academics, advocates, funders, lawyers and government officials, including Benyam Mezmur, chair of both the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; and associate professor of Law, Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, University of Western Cape, South Africa; Iain Byrne, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Policy coordinator at Amnesty International, United Kingdom; and Mário Volpi, Youth and Adolescent Development specialist and chief of Program, Quality Social Policies for Vulnerable Children, UN Children’s Fund, Brazil. More than 50 others will participate virtually from around the globe.

The summit is part of ABA President Hilarie Bass’ initiative to organize legal communities to help the more than 500,000 homeless children in the U.S. and the estimated 100 million street-connected children and youth worldwide by removing legal barriers to housing and critically needed services.

“During the summit, our goal will be for experts from around the world to produce a unique publication of principles that will focus on the concrete steps that countries can take in order to implement the UN General Comment on Children in Street Situations,” said Bass, who will moderate a plenary session on moving the UN Comment from paper to practice. “Afterward, these principles will be shared with countries around the world to assist them in the implementation of the General Comment.”

The principles will be presented to the ABA House of Delegates for adoption during the 2018 ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.


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