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Thursday, December 8, 2016
New website documents killing of street children
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 A website, dedicated to documenting and exposing the killing of children and young people, was simultaneously launched yesterday in the House of Commons by Alistair Burt MP and Lord Alton of Liverpool and in the US by Senator Brownback and Congressman Franks and Congressman Pitts. http://www.stopkillingchildren.com, which has been set up by Jubilee Campaign, was an idea first conceived by Lord Alton during a Jubilee visit to Brazil in February 2004. In Brazil, four to five children are being killed every day. Already, over 160 cases have been documented since the website started. One example is Samanta Isidoro Gonçalves, aged just 8, who was killed on September 24, 2004 by a stray bullet in Rio de Janeiro's Bonsucesso neighbourhood. Reportedly, she was going home from church and was shot in the head when crossing the street. According to relatives and witnesses, at least ten shots were fired at the moment she was killed. "When children are killed in the UK or the US, it is front page news. In places like Brazil where violence against children is commonplace, the lives of children who are killed are easily forgotten. Many people assume that the dark days of the killing of children have been consigned to the pages of history. By reporting the daily murder of innocent children, the website will enable us to raise awareness of the scale of the problem and leverage pressure on the governments to stop the killing." Lord Alton declared. In a live telephone call during the launch, Congressman Trent Franks told Lord Alton: "The launch of the website today is monumental because we must bring a broader awareness to the plight of the street children in Brazil. I am wholly supportive of this effort and believe that every child's life must be valued." "I commend my friend Lord Alton and the Jubilee Campaign for launching this very important website today. The alarming rate of street children being killed each day in Brazil must be exposed to the world community. "The website will bring faces to the names of children who have been ignored for too long and will prove to be an effective form of advocacy for human rights in Brazil. Future generations have suffered most from the corruption, the drugs, and the crime that have flooded the streets of Brazil's major cities. Thank you to Jubilee Campaign and Lord Alton for making this issue a priority and launching this important website." Senator Brownback wrote. Congressman Pitts said: "In the midst of all the other atrocities occurring around the world, the plight of street children is often forgotten. Lord Alton's leadership on this issue will be a matter of life and death to children in Brazil, the Philippines, Congo, and other nations." Stopkillingchildren.com is the latest in a series of steps that Jubilee Campaign has undertaken since the early 1990s when they were one of the first UK groups to highlight the killing of children by police death squads. The new website aims to bring much greater awareness about the violence currently meted out to children who have no voice. An endemic drugs problem and the proliferation of small arms in Latin America is leading children to become embroiled in gang warfare where they are often the first victims. An impotent and often complicit police force does little to bring the killers to justice or protect other children from a similar fate. Those attending the UK launch included Baroness Shirley Williams, Lord Hannay former British Ambassador to the United Nations; MPs Alistair Burt, Sir Nicholas Winterton and the Reverend Martyn Smyth, Alistair Burt MP Baroness Hooper and Luke Dowdney MBE and Beatle George Harrison's widow Julia.
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