IRELAND: Child Rights References in the Universal Periodic Review

Summary: A compilation of extracts featuring child-rights issues from the reports submitted to the first Universal Periodic Review. There are extracts from the 'National Report', the 'Compilation of UN Information' and the 'Summary of Stakeholder's Information'. Also included is the final report and the list of accepted and rejected recommendations.

Ireland - 12th Session - 2011
6th October, 9am to 12pm

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National Report
UN Compilation
Stakeholder Compilation
Accepted and Rejected Recommendations

National Report

8. This broader consideration of reform of the Constitution is in addition to a number of specific issues which the Government is committed to putting to the people by referendum. These include: reversal of the effects of a Supreme Court judgment to enable Oireachtas committees to carry out full investigations, protection of the right of citizens to communicate in confidence with public representatives, and the strengthening of children's rights.

15. Legal aid is also available for certain civil cases. This scheme is administered by the Legal Aid Board. It is subject to a means test and to the applicant making a contribution to the cost, commensurate with his or her disposable income. While there is a waiting time for an appointment with a solicitor, the Board gives priority to certain categories of cases, such as domestic violence, child care, child abduction and cases where there is a danger that the time limits for issuing proceedings may expire.

23. A large number of rights are specifically provided for in the Constitution. They are principally, although not exclusively, to be found in Articles 40-44, under the heading Fundamental Rights. These include: (a) equality before the law (Art. 40.1); (b) the right to life (Arts. 40.3.2 and 3); (c) the right to protection of one's person (Art. 40.3.2); (d) the right to one's good name (Art. 40.3.2); (e) property rights, including the right to own, transfer, bequeath and inherit property (Art. 40.3.2 in conjunction with Art. 43); (f) personal liberty (Art. 40.4); (g) the inviolability of the dwelling (Art. 40.5); (h) freedom of expression (Art. 40.6.1 (i)); (i) freedom of assembly (Art. 40.6.1 (ii)); (j) freedom of association (Art. 40.6.1 (iii)); (k) family rights (Art. 41); (l) the right of parents to provide for children's education (Art. 42.1); (m) the right of children to receive a certain minimum education (Art. 42.3.2); (n) freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion (Art.44); (o) the right to vote (Arts. 12.2.2, 16.1 and 47.3); (p) the right to seek election (Arts. 12.4.1 and 16.1); (q) the right to have votes treated as being of equal weight (Art. 16); (r) the right to have justice administered in public by judges who are independent (Arts. 34 and 35); (s) the right to criminal trial in Courts of law (Art. 38.1); (t) the right to trial by jury (Art. 38.5); and (u) the right not to have one's acts retrospectively declared to be unlawful (Art. 15.5.1).

25. In interpreting the provisions of the Constitution, the Courts have identified a number of rights which, although not expressly referred to in the Constitution, are nonetheless provided for by it. The most notable of these unspecified constitutional rights are: (a) the right to bodily integrity; (b) the right to travel within the State; (c) the right to travel outside the State; (d) the right not to have health endangered by the State and freedom from torture and from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; (e) the right to litigate and have access to the Courts; (f) the right to legal counsel; (g) the right to communicate; (h) the right to marry; (i) the right to marital privacy; (j) the right to procreate; (k) the rights of an unmarried mother concerning her child; (l) the rights of a child; (m) the right to legal representation in certain criminal cases; and (n) the right to fair procedure.

30. Ireland is party to the following human rights treaties adopted under the auspices of the United Nations: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

49. The main areas of work of the Ombudsman for Children's Office include independent handling of complaints by young people or by adults on young people's behalf; communication and participation, including supporting people in finding out about children's and young people's rights; and research and policy, including advising the Government on children's rights issues.

70. Ireland has ratified the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime.

72. The Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 created an offence of trafficking in children for the purpose of their sexual exploitation, punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment. It also created new offences of knowingly producing, printing, publishing, exporting, importing, distributing, selling or showing child pornography, for which the penalty is up to 14 years imprisonment and created an offence of possession of child pornography, punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment.

73. The Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 amended the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 in relation to trafficking in children for the purpose of their sexual exploitation, and created separate offences of trafficking in children for the purpose of their labour exploitation, or the removal of their organs, and trafficking in adults for the purposes of their sexual or labour exploitation, or for the removal of their organs. It also made it an offence to sell or offer for sale, or to purchase or offer to purchase, any person, adult or child, for any purpose. The penalty for these offences is up to life imprisonment and an unlimited fine. It is an offence to solicit or importune a trafficked person for the purpose of prostitution, for which the penalty is up to 5 years imprisonment.

80. In 1999, the Government apologised to those who had been victims of childhood abuse while in institutional care. A Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse was established to hear the accounts of those involved and to investigate the abuse of children in institutions. A redress board was established to make financial awards to assist in the recovery of those involved. By end-May 2011, 13,669 awards had been made with an overall average award value of €62,875. €847 million has been paid in respect of such awards.

81. The position of young girls and women who were residents in Magdalene laundries (the last of which closed in 1996) in past decades has been referred to by the UN Committee Against Torture. The Government believes it is essential to establish the true facts and circumstances relating to the Magdalene laundries. Following a Government decision on 14 June 2011, an interdepartmental committee, with an independent chair, is being appointed with a mandate to clarify any State interaction with the laundries and to produce a narrative detailing such interaction. The question of putting in place a restorative and reconciliation process and the structure that might be utilised to facilitate such process is also being addressed. Any complaint of serious abuse constituting a criminal offence in relation to these institutions will be investigated, and where appropriate, prosecuted.

95. The Adoption Act 2010 was enacted to improve standards in both domestic and inter-country adoption. Under this Act, the regulatory framework governing adoption has been strengthened in an attempt to ensure that the best interests of children are protected at every step throughout the adoption process.

101. The Government is committed to protecting the vulnerable. The social welfare system provides comprehensive supports for vulnerable people and comprises two main elements; a social security or contributory system funded by contributions from employees, self-employed, employers and, when necessary, an exchequer subvention; and a means-tested social assistance system funded entirely by taxation. Both elements provide cover for sickness, maternity, invalidity, survivors, occupational injuries and diseases, death grants, unemployment, old age pensions and family benefits etc. for those habitually resident in Ireland. The social welfare system includes a universal Child Benefit scheme. In 2010, overall expenditure on social welfare schemes was some €21 billion, which represents 34% of Government current spending.

107. The overall policy is set out in Services to Persons with Autism, first published in 1994. The Health Service Executive funds services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders from childhood to adulthood. These services, provided by both statutory and voluntary sector agencies, cover assessment, diagnosis and ongoing treatment and intervention supports, including home support services, respite services and multi-disciplinary team supports.

115. In accordance with the Government's commitment to the protection of the rights of children, a dedicated Government Department of Children and Youth Affairs was established by the Government in June 2011. The Department will lead the development of harmonised policy and quality integrated service delivery for children and young people, and will carry out specific functions in the social care field, driving coordinated actions across a range of sectors, including health, education, youth justice, sport, arts and culture. In line with Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the new Department of Children and Youth Affairs is committed to promoting and supporting meaningful participation by children and young people in issues that affect them through collaborative interaction between the participation and research experts within the Department. This collaboration will ensure that best practice in young people's participation is a priority and that outcomes are robust and evidenced-based.

116. The Programme for Government states that a referendum on Children's Rights is a priority. On taking office, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs commenced discussions with the Attorney General, with a view to preparing a draft wording.

117. Over the last number of years, there has been a growing awareness of the extent of clerical sexual abuse of minors, and concern at how such cases were handled. While individuals have been convicted and sentenced and Garda investigations are ongoing, the Government established a Commission of Investigation which has examined the handling of such cases by Church and State authorities in the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin and the Diocese of Cloyne, in respect of which there were particular concerns.

118. While not all of the reports have been published in full because individuals are still before the Courts, the Catholic hierarchy has put in place revised arrangements for dealing with the issues, supervised by a lay person. The Government is monitoring the effectiveness of these arrangements.

119. There have been failings in the State child-protection system as well. The Government recently decided that responsibility for child protection should be moved from the Health Service Executive to a standalone agency whose sole responsibility will be child protection. Arrangements are in place for the vetting by the Garda Síochána of those seeking employment where they would have substantial access to children.

120. The right to education is enshrined in Article 42 of the Constitution. Education in Ireland broadly comprises five levels: pre-school, primary, post primary, adult and further education, and higher education. Gross Current Expenditure on Education increased by 121% between 2000 and 2009, from €4.23 billion to €9.36 billion. Given the current financial constraints, the resources available for education are being deployed in as efficient and effective a manner as possible.

121. Pre-school, primary and post-primary education for the vast majority of students is free. Additional resources are allocated to schools to cater for students with specific educational needs such as students from lower socio-economic backgrounds attending designated schools, language support for migrants, and special needs and disability students. The development of literacy and numeracy competence of students is prioritised. On 8 July 2011, the Minister for Education and Skills is scheduled to launch the national strategy to improve the literacy and numeracy of children and young people.

123. Arising from the historical development of the primary education system, 96% of education provision at primary level is denominational, largely under the patronage of the Catholic Church (89.6%). Significant demographic and societal changes have taken place in recent years, leading to increased demand for new forms of multi-denominational and non-denominational schooling, as well as increased demand for Irish-language schooling.

124. In April 2011, the Government launched the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector. The challenge is to ensure that the rights of parents and their children are respected both in existing and new patronage arrangements. The Forum will also examine the role of religious education in primary schools in the context of its work. The Advisory Group to the Forum will analyse submissions received from over 200 stakeholders, consult and examine relevant data to assist them in preparing their report to the Minister for Education and Skills by the end of 2011.

141. Preliminary results from Census 2011 show that the total population was 4,581,269 on 10 April 2011. This represents an increase of 8.1% over the past five years since the last Census in 2006. The Quarterly National Household Survey for the first quarter of 2011 estimated that there were 357,300 non-Irish nationals aged over 15 living in Ireland. Other official information available shows that there were approximately 190,000 non-Irish children (under the age of 18) in Ireland in January 2011.

Compilation of UN Information

8. In 2006, CRC regretted that the Convention had not been incorporated into domestic law. The previous year CEDAW recommended that Ireland take appropriate measures to incorporate all the provisions of the Convention into domestic law and to ensure that effective remedies are available to women whose rights are violated. In 2008, the HR Committee noted that, unlike the European Convention on Human Rights, the Covenant is not directly applicable in Ireland.i In 2011 CERD reiterated that Ireland should incorporate the Convention into its legal system to ensure its application before Irish Courts.

9. CRC welcomed the enactment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Act in 2006 and recommended that Ireland consider extending extraterritorial jurisdiction for crimes of recruitment and involvement of children in hostilities without the criterion of double criminality; and ensure that all military codes, manuals and other military directives are in accordance with the provisions and the spirit of the OP-CRC-AC.

14. In 2011, the independent expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty noted with concern the recent drastic budgetary reductions to, inter alia, the Department of Health and Children, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Education and Skills, Equality Proofing, Disability Projects, and the Community and Voluntary Sector. She added that these reductions have the potential to significantly undermine the effective and efficient functioning of health and education services and the social protection system, all of which are crucial for providing minimum essential levels of enjoyment of human rights, and protecting the rights of the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.

31. CAT was gravely concerned at the failure by Ireland to protect girls and women who were involuntarily confined between 1922 and 1996 in the Magdalene Laundries. It expressed grave concern at the failure by Ireland to institute prompt, independent and thorough investigation into the allegations of ill-treatment perpetrated on girls and women in the Magdalene Laundries.

32. In 2006, CRC encouraged Ireland to raise the minimum age for recruitment into the Irish Defence Forces from 17 years to 18 years, without any forms of exception, in order to promote the protection of children through an overall higher legal standard. It encouraged Ireland to consider raising the minimum age of cadets participating in arms training provided by the Defence Forces to 18 years in order to fully respect the spirit of the OP-CRC-AC and to provide full protection for children in all circumstances.

35. In 2006, CRC welcomed the fact that in the Children Act 2001, the age of criminal responsibility was raised from 7 to 12 years with a rebuttable presumption that the minimum age of responsibility is 14. Furthermore, it was very disappointed that this part of the Children Act was transferred to the Criminal Justice Act 2006 in which the age of criminal responsibility was lowered to 10 years for serious crimes. It recommended that Ireland reinstate the provisions regarding the age of criminal responsibility as established in the Children Act 2001.

37. In 2006, CRC recommended that Ireland undertake an extensive review of the support services provided under the different governmental departments to assess the quality and outreach of these services and to identify and address possible shortcomings; and extend the social work services provided to families and children at risk to a seven-day, 24-hour service.

44. In 2008, the HR Committee noted with concern that the vast majority of Ireland's primary schools were privately run denominational schools that had adopted a religious integrated curriculum thus depriving many parents and children who so wish to have access to secular primary education. In its follow-up response, Ireland recognized that the changing shape of Irish society had placed new demands on the education system in responding to the needs of emerging communities. The role of the traditional churches and of other patronage bodies in managing and providing schools was acknowledged. In 2006, CRC had made a similar recommendation.

45. In 2011, CERD recalled its previous concluding observations and noted with concern that the education system in Ireland was still largely denominational and was mainly dominated by the Catholic Church. It further noted that non-denominational or multi-denominational schools represented only a small percentage of the total and, regretted that, according to reports, there were not enough alternative schools, and students of the Catholic faith were favoured for enrolment into Catholic schools against students of other faiths in case of shortage of places. It further expressed its regret that the provisions of the Equal Status Act gave the power to schools to refuse to admit students to denominational schools on grounds of religion if it is deemed necessary to protect the ethos of the school. Recognizing the 'intersectionality' between racial and religious discrimination, it reiterated its previous concluding observations and recommended that Ireland accelerate its efforts to establish alternative non-denominational or multi-denominational schools and to amend the existing legislation that inhibits students from enrolling into a school because of their faith or belief. It further recommended that Ireland encourage diversity and tolerance of other faiths and beliefs in the education system by monitoring incidents of discrimination on the basis of belief.

46. In 2011, UNESCO noted that persons with special educational needs are more specifically addressed by the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act, 2004. The Child Care Act of 1991 acknowledges the links between health and education measures. It provides for consultation with the Minister for Education in regard to regulations concerning the health, safety, welfare and development of preschool children availing of preschool services.

49. In 2008, the HR Committee was concerned about increased detention periods for asylum-seekers under the Immigration Act 2003. It noted with concern that an immigration officer's assessment that a person is not under 18 years of age could lead to the detention of that person and that such assessments are not verified by social services. Moreover, it was concerned about the placement of persons detained for immigration-related reasons in ordinary prison facilities together with convicted and remand prisoners and about their subjection to prison rules.

50. In 2011, while noting the various efforts that have been made by Ireland through the Health Service Executive (HSE) to protect the rights of separated and un-accompanied children seeking asylum, CERD regretted that legislation on this area did not provide adequate protection as required by the standards set by UNHCR. It recommended that Ireland enact legislation that adequately protects the rights and welfare of separated and unaccompanied children seeking asylum in line with the standards set by international law. It, therefore, invited Ireland to adopt immediate measures to ensure that a guardian ad litem or advisor be appointed for all separated and unaccompanied children irrespective of whether they had made a protection application or not. CRC had expressed similar concerns in 2005.

51. In 2006, CRC expressed its concern about the absence of an identification mechanism for asylum-seeking and refugee children who may have been recruited or used in hostilities, or a specific strategy for their physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration. In this connection, it reiterated its concern about the insufficient supervision of and care provided to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

Stakeholder Compilation

1. The Irish Human Rights Commission (Irish-HRC) recommended that Ireland ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities; the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and All Members of their Families and; the Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Transparency International Ireland (TI-I) recommended that Ireland ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption.

3. JS1 indicated that Constitution guaranteed certain private property rights and access to primary education but that other socio-economic rights were not justiciable.

4. The Ombudsman for Children's Office (OCO) welcomed the all-party Oireachtas (Parliamentary) Committee publication on the constitutional amendment on children's rights and recommended that Ireland proceed at the earliest opportunity to hold a constitutional referendum on children's rights.

6. The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) recommended that the remit of OCO be extended to allow individual complaints from children held in prison and in detention. The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) recommended that the remit of the Office of the Ombudsman be extended to include prisons, asylum, immigration and naturalisation decisions. JS1 recommended that Ireland establish an independent complaints system for prisoners, migrants and people claiming asylum.

7. OCO stated that all necessary legislative and other steps should be taken to allow the Health Information and Quality Authority to carry out independent inspections of all residential and foster care services for children, including residential and respite services for children with disabilities.

9. Irish-HRC recommended that a National Action Plan for Human Rights be introduced. OCO stated that public bodies should carry out child impact analyses and consider Ireland's human rights obligations when framing policy or delivering services to children.

26. Although the Government had committed to ending the detention of young people under the age of 18 in St. Patrick's Institution, OCO stated that Ireland should do it as soon as possible. The Children's Mental Health Coalition (CMHC) reported on the mental health situation of children in detention and made recommendations in that regard.

29. NWCI reported on the dramatic increase in demand for services to women experiencing sexual and domestic violence since the recession and recommended that Ireland ensure women's access to safe emergency accommodation.ii Irish-HRC recommended that for humanitarian reasons permission to remain should be allowed to victims of trafficking, particularly for child victims. More generally, JS1 recommended that Ireland should bring its domestic law on the protection of victims of crime (including victims of trafficking and domestic violence) into line with its international obligations. The Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI) made also recommendations relating to human trafficking to address shortfalls of the current legislation.

31. OCO indicated that the 2009 report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse chronicled the systematic abuse of thousands of children in residential institutions in Ireland over many decades. OCO stated that Ireland should indicate how it proposed to implement the recommendations of the Commission and the timelines for achieving this. Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) referred to the specific case of girls and women placed in Magdalene Laundries on probation and as an alternative to a prison sentence. These institutions were not included in the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. JFM recommended that Ireland apologise for the abuse perpetrated in Magdalene Laundries; establish a distinct redress scheme for Magdalene survivors and immediately adopt Irish-HRC recommendation to institute a statutory inquiry and compensation scheme.

32. OCO stated that Ireland had not yet prohibited all forms of corporal punishment and that the common law defence of reasonable chastisement should be removed.

33. OCO reported that youth homelessness and access to crisis intervention services remained a significant problem in Ireland and stated that targets should be set for tackling and eliminating youth homelessness.

36. OCO stated that the progress made to date in diverting children away from the criminal justice system should continue. OCO stated that the minimum age of criminal responsibility should be raised to 12 for all offences and the rebuttable presumption that children under the age of 14 cannot commit an offence should be restored.

44. After having conducted a systemic investigation into the implementation of Ireland's national child protection guidelines, Children First, OCO stated that these guidelines should be consistently implemented.

45. While referring to the fact that the majority of children who made complaints directly to OCO were children in the care of the State, OCO stated those children should have access to supports appropriate to their needs. Edmund Rice International (ERI) recommended that Ireland be legally bound by statutory provision to provide aftercare services for young people leaving the care system.

47. Notwithstanding the existence of civil partnership for same sex couples, JS1 recommended that Ireland introduce full civil marriage for same-sex couples.iii Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) also raised issues related to the rights of children being parented by same-sex couples.

57. Irish-HRC reported that income inequality had been heightened due to the current economic crisis and recommended that Ireland introduce the principle of non-retrogression into all economic policies. RG recommended that Ireland should protect disability-related welfare payments from further cuts. While noting that child poverty remained a significant problem in Ireland, OCO stated that Ireland should outline what strategies it will adopt to halt and reverse the increase in the number of children living in poverty.

58. JS1 reported that qualification for all means-tested social assistance payments was contingent on satisfying the Habitual Residence Condition (HRC) whose current application severely impacted on vulnerable groups, including children, asylum seekers, people who have received leave to remain in Ireland, migrant women who are victims of domestic violence, returning Irish emigrants and Travellers.

65. The Cork Social Housing Forum (CSHF) indicated that the core housing objective of the National Social Partnership Agreement, Towards 2016 was to enable every household to have available an affordable dwelling of good quality. CSHF described the social housing shortfall and its implication on human rights, notably for households with children and for young people starting out in life, and made recommendations to address these issues. RRAP recommended that Ireland develop a rights based approach to housing policy as well as implementing current strategies and policies and ensuring that they have a statutory basis where appropriate. RRAP further recommended Ireland reform its legislation so that public authority tenants have the same degree of protection afforded to private tenants, while Irish-HRC recommended that Ireland amend the Housing Act 1966, which allows a local authority to summarily recover possession of a dwelling.

67. JS1 stated that the provision of education in Ireland was intricately connected to the majority Christian religion, particularly the Catholic faith and that doctrinal religious instruction was taught in schools. JS1 recommended that Ireland provide a national network of schools that guarantee equality of access and esteem to children irrespective of their religious, cultural or social background. Irish-HRC recommended that the situation pertaining to would-be teachers should be clarified to ensure persons of non-faith or minority religious backgrounds are not deterred from training or taking up employment as teachers in the State. Pavee Point Travellers' Centre (PPTC) referred to draconian cuts to the Traveller Education Service despite existing inequalities between traveller children and the general population.

68. ERI reported on early school leavers and indicated that the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 failed to specify how alternative educational settings should function and enforced no measures for their official regulation and made a recommendation in this regard. GLEN referred to bullying against LGBT youth at schools despite existing policies.

69. CMHC and OCO reported about issues related to access to supports for children with special needs and OCO stated that Ireland should outline what steps it will take to implement the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act 2004. CMHC made recommendations relating to mental health promotion in schools to improve the current Social Personal and Health Education.

78. JS2 described the living conditions of asylum seekers living in Direct Provision accommodation and made recommendations with a view to reforming and improving upon the current system. JS2 also described the barriers faced by children in the asylum process in enjoying their right to education which they were entitled to and made recommendations to improve access to education. GRSG referred to the segregation felt by children in the direct provision centres. JS2 also mentioned complaints regarding the efficiency of the family reunification process for recognised refugees and made recommendations to improve this situation, notably by accelerating procedure for family reunion for children.

79. AkiDwA reported that women and girls seeking asylum comprised almost half of the residents living in direct provision accommodation. AkiDwA reported on alleged sexual harassment by some accommodation centre residents, management and staff or by local men and on alleged complaints, which had met with resistance from authorities to resolve situations satisfactorily. AkiDwA notably recommended that a gender perspective be applied to reception and asylum policies and procedures, through the introduction of gender guidelines in asylum processes; a mandatory code of conduct and comprehensive gendered cultural training programme for people working with individuals seeking asylum and a separate women-only accommodation centre.

80. OCO noted that significant progress had been made in the care of separated children seeking asylum in Ireland but the long-awaited legislative reform in the area of asylum and immigration should provide for a child-centred process of age assessment, the appointment of an independent guardian, asylum determination and service provision in line with international best practice. A number of submissions referred to separated children who went missing in Ireland.

81. JS2 had deep concern regarding the process and practice used to deport people and recommended that people who are at the end of the process should be able to access the services of the International Organization for Migration. JS2 made further recommendations relating to cases where school children form part of the family to be removed. ICI further recommended that Ireland protect the personal rights of Irish citizen children of migrant parents, including the right to live in the State and to be reared and educated with due regard to their welfare and ensure that Irish citizen children are not 'constructively expelled' from the State.

Accepted and Rejected Recommendations

The following recommendations were accepted:

A - 106.6. Consider the ratification (Chile, Ecuador), ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (OP-SCR) (Portugal, Slovenia, Turkey), as soon as possible (France);

A - 106.9. Implement its commitment to holding a constitutional referendum on children’s rights with a view to incorporating those rights into the Irish Constitution (Australia);

A - 106.10. Ensure a comprehensive and effective incorporation of children’s rights into its legal framework in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), by incorporating children’s rights into the Constitution (Portugal);

A - 106.11. Give further effect to international human rights instruments in the domestic legislation, including from the provisions contained in the CRC (Indonesia); 

A - 106.17. Enact laws that protect adequately the rights and the well-being of separated and unaccompanied minors seeking asylum, in conformity with standards established under international laws (Uruguay); 

A - 106.58. Ensure the national availability and accessibility to contraceptive services and methods, including through the dissemination of information and education to boys, girls and adolescents, taking into account prevention of discrimination based on geographic status, disability or migrant status (Mexico);


The following recommendations were rejected:

R - 108.3. Consider reviewing its law on the minimum age of criminal responsibility, to be in conformity with international human rights standards (Timor-Leste);

R - 108.6. Take measures to revise the law on abortion with a view to permitting termination of pregnancy in cases where pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, or in situations where the pregnancy puts the physical or mental health or well-being of the pregnant woman or the pregnant girl in danger (Denmark);


The following recommendations were left pending:

P - 107.9. Ensure the comprehensive and effective incorporation of children’s rights into Ireland’s legal framework in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child by incorporating children’s rights into the Constitution (Cambodia);

P - 107.10. Urgently take measures necessary to ensure that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is fully implemented and incorporated into the legal and administrative system of Ireland (Sweden);

P - 107.11. Consider alternative (legislative) measures that will enhance the position of children in the short term (i.e. extending the remit of the Ombudsman to children in prisons and asylum-seeking children) (Netherlands);

P - 107.12. Strengthen the legal framework for the protection of the rights of children and the rights of other vulnerable groups such as women, the elderly, people with disabilities and the community of Travellers (Peru);

P - 107.20. Adopt immediate measures to assign an ad litem tutor or adviser to unaccompanied minors independently of whether an application for protection has been submitted (Uruguay);

P - 107.27. Accelerate efforts in establishing a national network of schools that guarantee equality of access to children irrespective of their religious, cultural or social background (Malaysia);

P - 107.40. Institute a comprehensive statutory inquiry and compensation scheme in order to guarantee accountability and assist the (women and children) victims (of violence) (Thailand);

P - 107.41. Explicitly prohibit any form of corporal punishment in the family and continue developing awareness-raising campaigns and education for parents and for the public in general (Uruguay);

P - 107.42. Promote forms of discrimination and non-violent discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment, taking into consideration general comment No. 8 (2006) of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the protection of children from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment (Uruguay);



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