UN Committee publishes “detailed and wide-ranging” report on Ireland’s child rights record

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child publishes its ‘Concluding Observations’ on Ireland’s record on children’s rights, following the State’s hearing in Geneva last month

‘Concluding Observations’ reflect several crucial gaps in Ireland’s child rights regime highlighted to the Committee by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC)

‘Concluding Observations’ form major list of reforms required for Ireland to meet its human rights obligations

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child today (Thursday 4 February 2016) published a comprehensive assessment of Ireland’s record on children’s rights.

The ‘Concluding Observations on Ireland’, drafted by a committee of independent international human rights experts, covers a range of crucial recommendations to the State on its compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The document contains a range of issues highlighted by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission as key priority areas. These include:

  • Socio-economic rights: The Committee has urged the State to “address socio-economic disadvantages which constitute root causes for exclusion.” The Committee places a particular focus on housing, health and living standards for children.
  • Non-discrimination: The Committee has called on the State to “Strengthen its efforts to combat discrimination against and stigmatization and social exclusion of Traveller and Roma children” and to “establish an appropriately high-level and comprehensive successor to the National Action Plan against Racism”
  • Disability: The Committee has laid out a wide-ranging set of recommendations on children with disability, calling on the State to adopt a rights-based approach and to establish a comprehensive strategy for the inclusion of children with disabilities, including through adequate educational resources and reasonable accommodation. It also echoes wider calls on the State to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Human Rights friendly budgeting: The Committee has focussed on the great need for better tracking of the State’s budgetary allocations for children, calling for a “child rights approach in the elaboration of the State budget”.

Speaking on the publication of the Committee’s Concluding Observations today, IHREC Chief Commissioner Emily Logan said:

“We are pleased to see the publication of this authoritative, detailed and wide ranging assessment of Ireland’s compliance with its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

“Ireland has come a long way in recent years on the protection and promotion of Children’s rights. However, a great deal of work remains to be done”

“The Committee’s analysis closely echoes that of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission’s own assessment of Ireland’s record under the Convention, as well as echoing the wider thematic areas we have identified for action in our recently-launched Strategy Statement”

“These include the need for the state to adopt human-rights based budgetary and procurement processes; a wider and deeper state commitment to non-discrimination; and to commit to tackling in a more holistic way the challenges of poverty and social exclusion in our society.”

“These Concluding observations form a clear ‘to do’ list for the State to bring its law, policy and practice in line with international standards on the human rights of children”.

“The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission will work over the coming years to advocate for the full adoption by the State of the Committee’s recommendations, with a view to bringing Ireland fully in compliance with its international obligations”


For further information please contact Sile Murphy, Q4PR, sile@q4pr.ie, Mobile 086 028 8132

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Notes for Editors:

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child published its Concluding Observations on Ireland today, Thursday 4 February, at 11am. They are available on the UN website at http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC%2fC%2fIRL%2fCO%2f3-4&Lang=en

Ireland’s record under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was examined at a hearing in the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva on 14 January 2016. The Irish government delegation was headed by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs James Reilly TD.

In advance of the hearing, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission submitted a detailed report to the UN Committee on Ireland’s record under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 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. Areas 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 in December 2015. It is available at this link: http://www.ihrec.ie/publications/list/ireland-and-the-united-nations-convention-on-the-r/

The Convention on the Rights of the Child

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. This hearing will combine Ireland’s third and fourth periodic examination.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) is accredited as an A status national human rights organisation by the International Coordination Committee (ICC), a global network of national human rights institutions. The ICC coordinates the relationship between the NHRIs and the United Nations human rights system by reviewing and accrediting the compliance of NHRIs with the UN Paris Principles.

The Irish Human Rights Commission 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.

The IHREC published its 2016-2018 Strategy Statement on 26 January 2016. It can be downloaded at http://www.ihrec.ie/download/pdf/strategystatement.pdf