Tuesday 24 July 2012: For immediate release
Special Rapporteur calls on Government to empower children to make international complaints about violations of their rights
The Children’s Rights Alliance warmly welcomes today’s publication of the Fifth Report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, by child law expert, Geoffrey Shannon.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Alliance, says: “For the fifth year in a row, Geoffrey Shannon has provided the Oireachtas with an insightful analysis of the child protection system in Ireland and provided valuable recommendations and examples of learning from other jurisdictions.
“Recent reports have brought home to us the devastating impact that occurs when the child protection system fails children. The unique value of the Special Rapporteur Reports is that they help us understand the deficits in our children protection system and provide practical recommendations to close those gaps.
“Shannon calls on the Government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to enable children and their families to complain internationally when no other effective remedies are available. This mechanism will provide a cost effective tool and is especially designed for vulnerable children and families. It is vitally important that the Government demonstrate leadership by signing up to this Protocol.
Among his report’s recommendations:
- Hold a referendum to include children’s rights in the Constitution as soon as possible.
- Ratify the third Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure which would enable children and their families to make complaints to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. It is also recommended that the Government promote awareness of this Protocol by disseminating information to both children and adults.
- Provide training on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for all judges in Ireland involved in decision-making relating to the rights and interests of children.
- Ensure adequate implementation of the Ryan Report Implementation Plan, ensure there are prosecutions where appropriate and provide adequate compensation to abuse survivors.
- Make changes within the criminal justice system, including in relation to child victims of crime and child witnesses.
- Carry out research on the bases on which children are taken into care and whether current levels of family support at an early stage are adequate to prevent taking children into care. Consider the matter of whether greater family support is now needed because of the current economic climate.
For further information, please contact:
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive
Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087-653 1069