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Phantom children beg around the country

Friday, March 30th 2012 Newspaper DEN Journalist Aleksandar Bozinovski


 Phantom children beg around the country

For the first time a figure is published for these unfortunate not registered children, and nobody is legally obliged to care for them

At least 370 children - beggars in Macedonia are left to fend for themselves, with parents who instead of caring for them, earn through them, and without any possibility of help because for the country - they do not exist. This shocking figure, which can be much greater, but no less, announced by the Ombudsman's office, and resulted from their research and was published for the first time by a state institution. Another bad news is that only nine of 14 centers for social care had a record of these children. In the country there are at least 1,000 children - beggars, according to this research.

-          The research was done throughout the country, but these are not exact figures. We found that most institutions do not even deal with this problem. If a child is not recorded in the registry of birth, it, according to the law does not exist. These children have no legal rights. Mostly found in Skopje, Bitola and Kicevo - says Urania Pirovska, representative for the media in the office of the Ombudsman.

According to this survey, approximately 95 percent of the registered street children are from the Roma community. Most of these children have parents, and they are forced and sometimes abused to spend the day on the street.

 The children - beggars for whom there is a birth certificate, the largest percentage of them are not included in the educational system, thus only 17 percent of them attend school. Some of these children, about 8.5 percent, are recorded as perpetrators of criminal acts.

But, according to the First Children’s Embassy in the World – Megjashi, the problem is more serious than this research by the Ombudsman.

In Macedonia, there are children who are still not registered in the registry of births and don’t have appropriate documentation for identification which is an obstacle in the achievement of all children rights that they have in the legal system.

The lack of personal documents is still an obstacle for children to enroll in education, to gain access to health and other public services including child allowance.

The informal number of not registered children in the registry of births is between 500 to 2000 children. Most of these children are from the marginalized groups such as street children, children who are not included in the regular educational process and so on. Most of this category of children are Roma.

Usually the children that are not recorded are children who lack basic conditions for existence, always on the streets, begging and are victims of child trafficking and child prostitution- says Dragi Zmijanac, Founder and Executive Director of The First Children’s Embassy in the World - Megjashi


Last October, The Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Spiro Ristovski, announced a separate criterion of employment of the parents of the children - beggars who usually do not work anything. During the summer season the emphasis will be placed in Ohrid, because the children from other places have been brought to this town to beg, according to the Ministry. He promised that the centers for social care will help regarding the documentation for the children. So far the results of this action are not known.