Ireland Turns A Blind Eye to Child Abuse

Published date: 
18 Nov 2008

Tuesday 18 November 2008: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


On the eve of the World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse (Wednesday 19 November), the Children’s Rights Alliance today calls on the Government to support all children living in Ireland who are currently enduring, or at risk of, child abuse. A case in point is that of Pamela Izevbekhai, who failed to win an injunction from the High Court (today) to stall a deportation order back to Nigeria to save her daughters Naomi, 7, and Jemima, 6, from a forced female genital mutilation (FGM) ceremony, while awaiting a judicial review of the case. The Alliance also reiterates its urgent call on the Government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Mrs Jillian van Turnhout
, the Alliance’s Chief Executive, says: ‘To send these two young girls back to an environment where they may be threatened with FGM, which has already claimed the life of an older sister, raises serious concerns about the Government’s commitment to children. We will say it again: FGM is not a problem in some far away land that the Government can ignore; turning a blind eye to what is likely to befall these poor girls is unforgiveable. The Alliance urges the Irish Government to take heed of the European Court of Human Rights’ instruction not to deport the Izevbekhai family before it has had time to consider their case on 9 December 2008.’

There is currently no explicit legal protection against FGM in Ireland; neither is there specific legislation to protect a child from being removed from Ireland to have the procedure carried out overseas. The Alliance has raised the need for action time and again; two years ago, in its Shadow Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Alliance asked that legislation be introduced to outlaw FGM.

‘Once again we call on the Government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Implementing the Protocol would strengthen our child trafficking laws; the illegal adoption of children; child prostitution and child pornography; the tackling of child sex tourism and other child-abuse related offences. Over 120 other states have ratified the Protocol. Why not Ireland? Six years on from when the Irish State signed this key Protocol, we have failed to ratify it, and thus are out of step internationally. The aim of the Protocol is to provide a platform for nations to stand together to stop the global sexual exploitation and abuse of children. Why is Ireland out of the loop and breaking the chain of this global child protection system?’

For interview bids and further information, please contact:
Carys Thomas, Communications Director
Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087-7702845; Fax: (01) 662 9355

Notes to Editor:
1. Article 19: States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.

2. Article 34: States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:
a) the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;
b) the exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices; and
c) the exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.

3. Launched in 2000, the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse is commemorated every 19 November, in synergy with the anniversary of the International Day for the rights of the child (20 November), which rallies around the issue of child abuse and the need for urgent effective prevention programs. The World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse is about creating a culture of protection at family, local, national and international level.

Who are we?
The Children’s Rights Alliance is a coalition of over eighty non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to secure the rights and needs of children in Ireland, by campaigning for the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Alliance aims to improve the lives of all children under 18 years, through securing the necessary changes in Ireland’s laws, policies and services.

Children's Rights Alliance