Latin America and the Caribbean


3-10 October 1995

Background Information:

The National Movement of Street Children (MNMMR) will be holding a four-day conference in October to protest the violence against homeless children and discuss children's rights issues. Approximately 850 street children are expected to assemble in Brazil's capital city, Brasília, along with human rights activists, teachers, and allies from all over the world.

An average of four children are murdered each day in Brazil. The MNMMR--a coalition of over 100 children's, religious, and community groups--was founded in Brazil in 1985 as a means of combatting these vicious murders. In 1990, the MNMMR lobbied successfully for the passage of Brazil's first children's rights law, which entitled children to health care, education, housing, legal representation, and protected youths under 18 from being tried as adults. Although official approval of the Children's and Adolescent's Act (CAA) has resulted in slight improvement in certain social services available to Brazilian youth, violent crimes against street children have continued at a horrifyingly high rate.

On July 17, 1993, the violence culminated in an attack on 40 street children who were sleeping in front of the Candelaria Church in downtown Rio de Janeiro, and resulted in the deaths of 8 children from gunshot wounds. Witnesses have stated that the massacre was carried out by a death squad of about 8 men, only 4 of whom have been arrested since the crime. According to a statistic from Amnesty International, approximately 90 percent of the murders of poor children in Brazil go unpunished since the death squads are often hired by wealthy property owners and businessmen, and comprised of police officers.

Violence against Brazilian youth must be stopped, and one way that we can help is by creating a strong international presence at the meeting of street children.

For further information:
The International Child Resource Institute (ICRI)
Brazil Project
1810 Hopkins St
Berkeley, CA 94707 USA
Tel (510) 644-1000
Fax (510) 525-4106

(ICRI is a 14-year-old non-governmental organization with representatives in 52 countries. It is dedicated to the survival and success of children and their families around the world. The Brazil Project, a program of the ICRI, works to reduce the number of assaults and murders of urban minors in Brazil by increasing the prosecution of violent offenders. The Project also works to improve services provided for children such as education and nutrition, and to increase the involvement of street children and their allies in the formation of public policies dealing with underprivileged youth.)

For meeting arrangements:
Global Exchange
2017 Mission St., Ste. 303
San Francisco, CA 94110 USA
Tel 415/255-7296 or in US 800/497-1994
Fax 415/255-7498

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