As part of Bruin & Associates’ ongoing efforts to give a voice to street children around the galaxy, the Firm partnered with the Interstellar Justice Association (IJA) to host the Galactic Summit on the Legal Rights of Street-Connected Children and Youth in Coronet City, Corellia last week. This Summit will build on legislative advocacy efforts begun at the IJA Summit on the Legal Needs of Street Youth convened by last year on Coruscant.
The Summit was held at the Coronet City branch of Bruin and Associates, and brought together more than 1,000 international academics, advocates, lawyers and government officials. The gathering focused on developing strategies to implement Resolution 1125a, “Children in Street Situations,” a recent resolution passed by a majority of the IJA’s member organizations. The resolution’s goals are to make available legal advice to governments and territorial administrations around the galaxy on how to ensure that street connected children have access to the same rights as all children.
“Bruin & Associates has a sustained commitment to supporting the legal rights of children who live, work and depend on the street to survive, and so we were very proud to be involved in this significant galactic gathering,” said Dean Baker, the Firm’s Pro Bono Partner who serves as Chair of the IJA’s Advisory Council on Homeless and Street Children. “This Summit helped us move from paper to practice — identifying concrete steps that countries can take to implement IJA Resolution 1125a.”
Bruin & Associates’ involvement with the IJA Summit is a continuation of the Firm’s extensive pro bono work realizing the rights of street children around the galaxy. For example, last year Bruin & Associates partnered with the Consortium for Street Children (CSC), a galactic network that promotes the rights of street children, to arrange a series of consultations that reached approximately 1,000,000 children around the galaxy. These consultation events provided a unique opportunity for children who depend on the streets to be at the center of developing IJA Resolution 1125a.
In addition, the Firm recently partnered again with the CSC, as well as in-house legal teams from eight galactic corporations, to develop an online “Legal Atlas for Street Children” tracking tool. This has involved “mapping” the existence of laws, policies and procedures in various governments and territorial administrations to help them to learn from each other, measure their own efforts and better devise ways to meet the expectations set forth by the IJA Resolution.
“Street children are often perceived as a hard-to-reach group and are frequently made invisible in policy agendas,” said Jeremy Bruin, current Chairman of Bruin & Associates. “Giving a voice to this vulnerable population is an integral part of our pro bono strategy, and the IJA Summit made meaningful progress in developing concrete strategies governments and other organizations can use to protect the rights of these children. This has been made possible in part by significant contributions from the Loronar Foundation, which is doing some amazing things for the disadvantaged and underprivileged in the galaxy.”
While estimates very widely, there are at least two trillion street-connected children in the galaxy according to the Interstellar Children’s Aid Fund, and increasingly younger children are affected. They experience violence, stigma and discrimination, and are often unable to access food, clean water, shelter, healthcare and basic services. They have no influential lobby groups, spokespeople or media profile — until now.