On the 24th and 25th of January the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child will review Ireland during its meeting in Geneva. A joint submission made by the OLA Sisters, other congregations and the SMA will contribute to this review of Ireland which examines how well the Convention on the Rights of the Child is being implemented in Ireland and the steps taken by Government to ensure that every child’s rights are protected.
This joint submission which will form part of the input to the review is a collaborative effort between the Christian Brothers European Province Advocacy Office (http://www.edmundrice.eu/), the International Presentation Association (https://globalpres.org/), the Cork Migrant Centre (https://corkmigrantcentre.ie/), the Presentation Brothers Ireland (www.presentationbrothers.org), the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles (www.olaireland.ie) and the Justice Office of the Society of African Missions (www.sma.ie).
- Human trafficking
- Domestic violence
- Children living in the Direct Provision system
- Right to education
- Racism in schools
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is a comprehensive, internationally binding agreement on the rights of children, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989. Ireland signed the UN Convention on 30 September 1990, and ratified it on 28 September 1992. This means that the Irish State committed itself to promote, protect and fulfil the rights of children, as outlined in the UN Convention. The Convention defines a child as a person under the age of 18 years, and acknowledges the family as the fundamental unit of society. It stresses the role of parents as the primary care-givers with responsibility for the up-bringing of their children and obliges governments to support parents in fulfilling their essential role.
The Review by the Committee on the Rights of the Child
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the body of 18 Independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. All countries who have signed the Convention are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must submit periodic reports every five years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State in the form of “concluding observations”. Ireland is under review this year. As part of the review of Ireland, the Irish Ambassador to the UN in Geneva formally submitted the combined Fifth and Sixth State Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in February 2022.
Steps in the Review
Civil society stakeholders submitted written reports to the Committee in 2020 on the situation of children’s rights in Ireland. These reports informed the List of Issues Prior to Reporting (LOIPRs) prepared by the Committee for Ireland.
- The Committee then sent the List of Issues Prior to Reporting (LOIPRs) to the Irish Government in November 2020. The LOIPRs are a list of questions addressed to the Irish Government under various headings affecting children.
- In February 2022, the Irish Government responded to the LOIPRs with the State report: the combined Fifth and Sixth State Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
- In August 2022, civil society groups responded to the State Report with their own submissions to the Committee, known as inputs to the State report. These submissions should include information on new developments; comments to the State report; pose questions for the dialogue, propose recommendations for the Concluding Observations; and address gaps in the LOIPR and the State Report. The Joint Submission of religious congregations including the OLA and SMA was one such submission.
- The actual review of Ireland takes place on the 24th and 25th of February through a process of Constructive Dialogue between the Committee and representatives from the Irish Government after which the Committee will publish the Concluding Observations which will outline a list of recommendations to better realise the rights of the child in the coming five years.
Our Joint Submission
You can download the Joint Submission made by the SMA, OLA and other groups here. Input to the State Report of Ireland – Joint Submission – OLA-PBVM-SMA-CFC-FPM-CMC-IPA – 15 August 2022