In February 2023, the Committee on the Rights of the Child concluded its examination of Ireland under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The OLA Justice Desk, collaborating with others, presented critical concerns and recommendations in a joint submission addressing racism in schools, human trafficking, domestic violence, and the living conditions of children in direct provision.

As the 2023 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence commence, spanning from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to December 10, Human Rights Day, we revisit our earlier concerns and recommendations.

Racism in Schools:

Our joint submission highlighted concerns and made specific recommendations regarding racism in schools. Emphasizing the prevalence of racism affecting a significant number of children, the lack of adequate data on the extent of racism, and the necessity to decolonize the curriculum.

While the committee’s concluding observations acknowledged the new national action plan on racism, they urged the government to promptly allocate resources and finances. In our continued advocacy, we persistently urge the government to expedite the funding of the national action plan, stressing the need for swift and serious attention to address the challenges faced by children most adversely affected by racism within our schools.

Human Trafficking:

In November, the Minister for Justice launched the third national action plan on trafficking, a welcomed development. In our joint submission to the Convention of the Rights of the Child, we outlined specific concerns and offered recommendations regarding children as victims of human trafficking. This included concerns about the failure to identify and record children as victims of trafficking.

The lack of convictions, as highlighted in the committee’s concluding observations in February 2023, prompted the committee to call for the establishment of a new referral mechanism. This mechanism aims to record children as victims of human trafficking and ensure every available support is afforded them. We hope that the minister will promptly bring about the legislation to effect the third national action plan on trafficking, suitably financing and resourcing its implementation.

Domestic Violence:

In our joint submission to the Committee for the Rights of the Child, we addressed concerns and provided recommendations concerning children of victims of domestic and sexual gender-based violence. This includes emphasizing the need for careful consideration of the wishes of these children in any legal proceedings.

Reiterating our concerns in the concluding observations published by the Commission in February 2023, we are heartened to find some of our issues acknowledged. However, we also advocate for the government to swiftly allocate resources to finance a robust National Action Plan on zero tolerance. This urgent step is crucial to mitigate the impact of domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence on children, ensuring that fewer of them suffer as victims of these distressing circumstances.

Direct Provision:

Our joint submission to the committee outlined numerous concerns related to children living in direct provision, accompanied by a set of recommendations. Foremost among our concerns is the prolonged stay of far too many children in direct provision, which has persisted for an unacceptably long duration. Additionally, we express unease about children who have not received adequate attention despite the indirect support available. There’s also a growing apprehension about the diminishing commitment of the government to end the practice of direct provision by the targeted year of 2024.


In conclusion, our joint submission to the Committee for the Rights of the Child serves as a clarion call for urgent and comprehensive action from the Irish government. Urgent measures are necessary to address the critical concerns outlined, safeguarding the well-being, dignity, and rights of every child in Ireland. It is imperative that the government acts promptly to ensure a safer and more equitable environment for all children in the country.