Jane Donnelly and I attended the Irish Youth Councils’ national showcase event in Croke Park yesterday, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on Rights of the Child.
Comhairle na nÓg are Youth Councils in the 34 City and County Development Board areas of Ireland, funded by the Department of Children and other sources.
The Youth Councils give children and young people the opportunity to be involved in the development of local services and policies. They are for young people under the age of 18 who therefore have no other voting mechanism to have their voice heard.
The purpose of yesterday’s event was to showcase the work and topics each Youth Council has been working on over the past two years or more to relevant decision makers, as well as highlighting the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention. Ireland ratified the Convention in 1992.
Atheist Ireland is a member of the Irish Children’s Rights Alliance, which is preparing a report for the UN about Ireland’s record on fulfilling its obligations under the Convention. This report will feed into the UN’s next review of Ireland in January 2016.
The rights most directly relevant to Atheist Ireland’s secular agenda include the right to non-discrimination (Article 2); freedom of expression (Article 13); freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 14); and education (Articles 28, 29).
What rights are protected in the Convention?
Article 1: Definition of a child
Article 2: Non-discrimination
Article 3: Best interests of the child
Article 4: Implementation of rights
Article 5: Parental guidance and the child’s evolving capacities
Article 6: Survival and development
Article 7: Name and nationality
Article 8: Preservation of identity
Article 9: Separation from parents
Article 10: Family reunification
Article 11: Illicit transfer and non-return
Article 12: The child’s opinion
Article 13: Freedom of expression
Article 14: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
Article 15: Freedom of association
Article 16: Protection of privacy
Article 17: Access to appropriate information
Article 18: Parental responsibilities
Article 19: Protection from abuse and neglect
Article 20: Protection of children without families
Article 21: Adoption
Article 22: Refugee children
Article 23: Children with a disability
Article 24: Health and health services
Article 25: Periodic review of placement
Article 26: Social security
Article 27: Standard of living
Article 28: Education
Article 29: Aims of education
Article 30: Children of minorities or indigenous peoples
Article 31: Leisure, recreation and cultural activities
Article 32: Child labour
Article 33: Drug abuse
Article 34: Sexual exploitation
Article 35: Sale, trafficking and abduction
Article 36: Other forms of exploitation
Article 37: Torture and deprivation of liberty
Article 38: Armed conflicts
Article 39: Rehabilitative care
Article 40: Administration of juvenile justice
Article 41: Respect for existing standards.
What is the Rights of the Child process?
What is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is an agreement that establishes legal standards to help States make better decisions and achieve successful outcomes for children. It the most widely accepted human rights treaty globally.
What is the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child?
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is the body responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Convention by States. It comprises 18 independent experts elected by Members of the UN and meets three times a year in Geneva, Switzerland.
What is the UN Review?
On ratifying the Convention, Governments agree to be assessed periodically by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on their progress in implementing the rights in the Convention. Ireland’s next review will be in January 2016.
Why is the UN Review important?
The UN Review is important as it creates a unique opportunity for dialogue between the UN, the Irish Government and civil society on children’s rights in Ireland. The examination in Geneva focuses an international spotlight on Ireland and is taken very seriously by Government.
What is the role of the Children’s Rights Alliance?
The Children’s Rights Alliance unites over 100 members working to make sure that children’s rights are respected and protected in our laws, policies and services. The Alliance was established to lead the civil society engagement in the UN review of Ireland’s record on children’s rights. It carried out this role during the two previous examinations of Ireland in 1998 and 2006.