Review of Ireland by the Committee on the Rights of the Child
On 24 and 25 January 2023, Ireland was reviewed by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva as part of the 92nd Session of the Committee. In a Constructive Dialogue over two days, the members of the Committee (comprised of 18 independent experts) questioned the Irish delegation about the efforts it has made to protect the rights of Children, areas of concern, gaps in protection, and proposals for the future to address those gaps. The Irish delegation was led by the Minister for Children, Roderick O’Gorman TD.
Also in attendance were members of civil society, who were able to follow proceedings and approach Committee members in order draw their attention to particular issues and propose follow-up questions. The OLA Justice Desk, together with four other organizations, made a joint civil society submission to the Committee in advance of the review back in August 2022 (read our joint submission here: Input to the State Report of Ireland – Joint Submission – OLA-PBVM-SMA-CFC-FPM-CMC-IPA – 15 August 2022). Our group was represented in Geneva by Brian O’Toole, the director of the Presentation Interprovincial Justice Desk (Presentation Sisters). Brian reported back extensively on the issues being raised during the Constructive Dialogue – which was posted on the OLA Twitter feed, https://twitter.com/OLAireland – and brought important follow-up questions to the attention of the Committee. Our questions were focused on the issues raised in our joint submission in relation to human trafficking, domestic and gender-based violence, the right to education, the rights of children in direct provision, and the problem of racism in schools.
Why was Ireland being reviewed?
All countries who have signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how children’s rights are protected. States must submit a report every five years and the Committee then discusses the issues raised with the State in a Constructive Dialogue in Geneva. In line with these guidelines, Ireland’s review took place over the course of the past year, culminating in the Constructive Dialogue in Geneva this January. Following the Constructive Dialogue, the Committee will now publish its Concluding Observations outlining a list of recommendations to better realise the rights of the child in the coming five years. (Read more about the Convention, the work of the Committee and the Review Process here: https://www.olaireland.ie/justice/ola-joint-submission-to-the-committee-on-the-rights-of-the-child/)
Why was the OLA Justice Desk involved?
Civil society groups were invited to engage with the work of the Committee in its Review of Ireland by responding to the State Report with their own submissions to the Committee, known as inputs to the State report. Responding to that invitation, the OLA Justice Desk, in collaboration with others, made a joint submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child on 15 August 2022. This joint submission was a collaborative effort with the Christian Brothers European Province Advocacy Office (http://www.edmundrice.eu/), the International Presentation Association (https://globalpres.org/), the Society of African Missions – Irish Province (www.sma.ie), the Cork Migrant Centre (https://corkmigrantcentre.ie/), and Presentation Brothers Ireland (www.presentationbrothers.org).