New Human Rights and Equality Commission Must Protect Children’s Access to Justice
Statement by Tanya Ward, Chief Executive
The Children’s Rights Alliance today broadly welcomes Government proposals on the creation of a new Human Rights and Equality Commission.
Commenting on the proposals released today by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, TD, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said: “The proposals move us in the right direction by making sure that Commissioners will be appointed independently and the Oireachtas will play a role in oversight. They also include new functions such as the drawing up of codes of practice for service providers which will be critical in preventing discrimination.
“The Government has some difficult decisions to make on resourcing. However, we believe that the new body should be tasked with providing legal support to people in ‘vulnerable situations’ who do not have access to other forms of support, including legal aid.
“This is especially important for children and their families who can often experience discrimination when trying to access education. Previously, the Equality Authority has acted in many successful cases where disabled and Traveller children have been discriminated against in educational settings. These cases were not of strategic value but did involve a serious breach of the child’s right to access education. It is imperative that the new body maintains a life-line to such children and their families, whose access to legal aid is – at best – limited.”
For more information, please contact:
Carys Thomas, Communications Director
Mob: +353 87 7702845