|Protecting children from economic explorationThe reality is that in Macedonia and in other societies, there are street children.|
Our research shows that they often come from troubled and dysfunctional families. The joint action of all institutions involved, according to me, has recently made significant progress on building a strategy on how to prevent such situations to be addressed, said the Ombudsman of the Republic of Macedonia, Ixhet Memeti, on the Annual Conference of the children Ombudsman from Southeastern Europe, held in Ohrid.
Minister of Labour and Social Policy Spiro Ristovski, stressed that it is an extremely complex problem that is present within decades in Macedonia, thus it can not be resolved through several actions.
- You can set up a system in which each competent institution in the country will find its place and will participate in implementing its obligations towards relocation of street children, resettlement and integration in the educational system. It is a long process in which a policy that any government takes should continue for the sake of children, said Ristovski.
Bjorn Hagen, director of the Regional Office for Southeast Europe, the Norwegian "SAVE the Children," co-organizer of the conference in Ohrid noted that the economic recession over the past years is one of the biggest reasons for the increase of street children in the region.
- Therefore, we are trying to identify such conditions and pursuant to intensify our activities in the field. Our role here is through the initiative to establish a regional network of ombudsmen who now has 14 members from 12 countries to act through local NGOs and state institutions to reduce the number of street children. It is not a problem that the state can solve, but an issue that requires more complex approach involving all stakeholders, said Hagen.
According to Dragi Zmijanac-Medasi, children who are victims of the street or their parents are the weakness for the system.
- Employees from the Centers for Social Work are not present on the ground, not out for strict supervision on the behavior of parents and not on time with consuming their parental rights. Daycare centers for children work for 16 hours, but later children are again on the street. They should be involved in education and their parents must receive at least one employment, keeping them under constant monitoring for the quality exercise of their parental rights, says Zmijanac.
The Ombudsman Ixhet Memeti, claim that these children often come from dysfunctional families, poor and uneducated parents. The economic situation is one of the biggest reasons children are on the street.
For Dragi Zmijanac from Children's Embassy "Megjashi", Daycare centers are partly a solution that will fully resolve this problem.
- Until the government made no attempt to include all children through the local government in the education process, there’s no hope for complete success- claims Zmijanac.
He said that street children are not just pathological or sociological creatures and ugly image of the city, but they turn up due to the weakness of social structures.
- Centers for Social work do not perform strict supervision of parents and do not take away parental right on time and because of that most children are victims of their parents and weaknesses of the system - considered Zmijanac.
The conference included representatives from Obdusmanite for children from 12 countries in the region of Southeast Europe, and representatives of state institutions and NGOs whose activities are aimed at protecting children's rights. During the two days conference, the focus was put on several topics of children's rights, primarily on protecting children from economic exploitation and the asocial occurrence - street children.