24 Jul 2014
UN Spotlights Ireland’s Failure to Ban Hitting Children
Thursday, 24 July 2014: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes the unequivocal recommendations issued today by the UN Human Rights Committee to Ireland.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, in response said:
“The UN Human Rights Committee has called on Ireland to ban hitting children in all settings. A ban would change attitudes and reduce abuse levels overall. It’s about time that we took action to protect children from all forms of violence. The Committee also called on the Government to encourage non-violent forms of discipline and to conduct information campaigns to raise awareness about its harmful effects.
The Committee also focused on mother and baby homes. The Government has been told to conduct a prompt, independent and thorough investigation into all allegations of abuse in Magdalene Laundries, children’s institutions and mother and baby homes. And to ensure that those involved are prosecuted and all victims are appropriately compensated.
Once again, the Committee has criticised the lack of access to secular education in Ireland for children of minority faith or non-faith families. They recommend that the Government legislate against discrimination in access to schools on the grounds of religion or belief and increase the number of diverse schools and curriculum.”
NOTES TO EDITOR:
• The UN Human Rights Committee is a body of 18 independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by national governments.
• On 14 and 15 July 2014, the Committee examined Ireland’s human rights record. Today the Committee published its recommendations, called Concluding Observations, on areas where Ireland has failed to uphold human rights.
• The UN Human Rights Committee’s recommendations on children include:
- Institutional abuse of women and children: The State party should conduct prompt, independent and thorough investigation into all allegations of abuse in Magdalene Laundries, children’s institutions and mother and baby homes, prosecute and punish the perpetrators with penalties commensurate with the gravity of the offence, and ensure that all victims obtain an effective remedy, including appropriate compensation, restitution, rehabilitation and measures of satisfaction.
- Corporal punishment: The State party should take appropriate steps, including the adoption of suitable legislation, to put an end to corporal punishment in all settings. It should encourage non-violent forms of discipline as alternatives to corporal punishment, and conduct public information campaigns to raise awareness about its harmful effects.
- Freedom of religion: The State party should take concrete steps to amend articles 12, 31 and 34 of the Constitution that require religious oaths to take up senior public office positions, taking into account the Committee’s general comment No. 22 (1993) concerning the right not to be compelled to reveal one’s thoughts or adherence to a religion or belief in public. It should also introduce legislation to prohibit discrimination in access to schools on the grounds of religion, belief or other status, and ensure that there are diverse school types and curriculum options available throughout the State party to meet the needs of minority faith or non-faith children. It should also amend Section 37(1) of the Employment Equality Acts in a way that bars all forms of discrimination in employment in the fields of education and health.
- Conditions of detention: It should establish a concrete timeline for the achievement of complete separation of remand and sentenced prisoners, juvenile and adult prisoners and detained immigrants and sentenced prisoners.
For further information and interviews, please contact:
Emma McKinley, Legal and Policy Officer
Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087 7702845
Children's Rights Alliance