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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Green MEP urges UN to focus on London’s runaways

EURO-MP Jean Lambert has backed a call for the UN to launch a new campaign to improve the lives of ‘street children’.

Speaking at a Brussels event to mark the International Day for Street Children, which takes place tomorrow (April12th), she said a global effort was needed to improve the lives and prospects of the estimated 700 million children forced to call the streets home – as many as 100,000 of them a year in London.

The Green MEP, who is also a member of the European Parliament’s cross-party Intergroup on Youth Issues, said: “A child runs away from home every five minutes in the UK – that’s 100,000 children a year – many of whom end up on the streets of London.

“Though many return home quickly, some don’t: and we know that however long a child is on the streets she is more likely to suffer violence and sexual exploitation, to become malnourished and suffer disease – with little or no access to healthcare – and to have their education disrupted.

“In many countries, it’s much worse of course, with children starting life on the streets.”

She added: “We really need a global focus on this: and the UN is the body to co-ordinate one. There is lots of good work happening on this issue, not least at EU level, but it really needs to be joined up. Our children, in London and around the world, deserve better.”

Campaigners say the International Day for Street Children is a platform for the millions of street children around the world – and their champions – to speak out so that their rights cannot be ignored.

They want the UN to adopt the Day – when the UN adopts a Day it gives the issue greater global exposure and increases pressure on governments to act.

You can add your support for the campaign by signing the petition.