Street Children & Human Rights - The Casa Alianza Legal Aid Programme
In 1990, in response to the brutal murder of 13-year-old Guatemalan street child Nahamán Carmona López by four uniformed officers of the Guatemalan National Police, Casa Alianza opened the first legal aid office for street children in Central America.
Following a two-year court battle, Nahamán's killers were finally convicted. It was only the second time in Guatemala's history that officials had been convicted for human rights violations.
Despite repeated threats, an armed attack against the Casa Alianza shelter, and the assault of staff members, Casa Alianza has continued to struggle forwards. In addition to managing hundreds of criminal lawsuits, the Legal Aid office assists children with civil law matters, such as the acquisition of birth certificates and identity cards needed to matriculate in school or benefit from other social services. In February 1994, a Legal Aid Office for Street Children was also established in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and in February 1997 in Mexico City. May 1998 saw the opening of a further office in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and in June 1998 we opened another in Managua, Nicaragua.
To date Casa Alianza has filed over 650 lawsuits against State Security and private police officials for the torture and murder of street children in Central America.
Every month our front-line programmes report the murder of around 80 - 100 children and young people in Guatemala and Honduras.
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