Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission publishes report on Ireland’s compliance with UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

  • Ireland’s record under Convention to be examined at UN hearings in Geneva next month
  • Commission concern at State outsourcing of children’s services in health, care work, immigration and asylum 
  • Report will inform UN evaluation on Ireland’s compliance with Convention standards

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has today outlined its observations and recommendations on Ireland’s compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

As the national human rights institution, the Commission’s observations and recommendations will inform the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in its assessment of Ireland’s standards at a hearing before the Committee in Geneva on 14 January 2016.

It is nine years since Ireland’s performance was examined against the standards set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Commission’s report outlines a range of measures the State can take to better meet human rights contained in the Convention.

The Commission outlines specific concern at the lack of accountability in respect of the outsourcing of state services for children to the for-profit sector which have no direct responsibility for upholding human rights standards. It recommends making human rights compliance an eligibility criterion for Government procurement  of services for children, including health, care work, immigration and asylum, as well as new legislation on mandatory requirements.   

Speaking today, Chief Commissioner Emily Logan said:

“In the nine years since Ireland was last before the Committee on the Rights of the Child, there have been significant improvements in the State’s protection and promotion of children’s rights. Children’s rights are now given voice at the Cabinet table; an Article on the rights of the child has been added to our Constitution; and significant and welcome changes have been made to child and family law”.

“These changes have all gone some way to addressing the legacy of failures on the part of the State to protect and vindicate the rights of children in its care, and those children whose care was entrusted to voluntary, religious and private institutions.”

“However, a great deal of work remains to be done. The principles enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child have not been consistently applied across all State activities that touch on the lives of children. Crucially, in the areas of health, care work, immigration and asylum, the State continues to outsource many of its functions to for-profit companies whose standards are not tested against Convention principles.”

“In addition to reiterating many of the well-known issues facing children in Ireland such as diversity in education, poverty, and the legacy of child abuse, our report also directs the Committee’s attention to the need for a comprehensive child rights-led revision of the State’s procurement practices. We must ensure that all private companies engaged by the State to work with or for children are subject to rigorous human rights vetting and inspection that is not only informed by the Convention, but driven by it.”

The report outlines a range of areas where the State falls short of its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Topics include:

  • Child-rights centred independent monitoring mechanisms (p10-11)
  • Public procurement and children’s rights (p11)
  • Child-friendly budgeting (p13)
  • Child health, including reproductive health and services (p20)
  • Poverty (p22)
  • Homelessness (p26)
  • The legacy of historical child abuse and gaps in child protection (p16-17)
  • Diversity in education (p28-31)
  • Asylum and direct provision (p40)
  • Family and Care Proceedings (p8)
  • Gender recognition (p14)

The Report by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on Ireland’s Combined Third and Fourth Periodic Reports was submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva this week. It is available at this link: http://www.ihrec.ie/download/pdf/ireland_and_the_united_nations_convention_on_the_rights_of_the_child.pdf

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For further information please contact Niamh Connolly on 01 8589601/087 4399022 or communications@ihrec.ie Twitter: follow us @_ihrec

NOTES

  • Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992. The Convention outlines in detail the standards that apply to the needs of children, and binds States to adhere to these standards. The Convention is informed by four core principles: non-discrimination; the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development and respect for the views of the child.
  • States’ adherence to the Convention is periodically assessed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, an elected group of independent human rights experts in children’s rights. Ireland’s last examination by the Committee was in 2006. Ireland’s next hearing when senior Government officials will be questioned by the Committee, will take place in Geneva on 14 January 2016. This hearing will combine Ireland’s third and fourth periodic examination.  A delegation from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission will be present.
  • The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) was established by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014. The Commission has a statutory remit to protect and promote human rights and equality in the State, to promote a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding and to promote understanding and awareness of the importance of human rights and equality. The IHREC is tasked with reviewing the adequacy and effectiveness of law, policy and practice relating to the protection of human rights and equality and with making recommendations to Government on measures to strengthen, protect and uphold human rights and equality accordingly. Visit our website: www.ihrec.ie