Watchdog Queries “Exemption” of State Agencies from Child Rights Provisions
- Categorized in: Human Rights
Press release for immediate release
Wednesday 19 September 2012
Ireland’s independent human rights watchdog, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has welcomed the publication this morning (19 September 2012) of proposed wording for a constitutional referendum on the rights of children.
The ICCL indicated that, at first reading, it was “broadly satisfied” with the wording, but questioned the apparent “exemption” of State agencies from the requirement to consider the voice of the child when proceedings are taken against them.
ICCL Director Mr Mark Kelly said,
“Minister Fitzgerald appears to have made a sincere effort to capture some of the key principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Child in her proposed text. The explicit provisions regarding the equal treatment of all children are particularly welcome.”
However, the rights watchdog noted that the scope of the best interests principle and the requirement to hear the voice of the child are more narrowly drawn than in the recommendations produced by the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children over two years ago.
Mr Kelly said:
“The O’Rourke Committee recommended the inclusion of the 'right of the child’s voice to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, having regard to the child’s age and maturity'. However, Frances Fitzgerald’s wording appears to restrict the right of child to have his / her voice heard to proceedings brought by the State. Is the Minister really proposing that children should be seen but not heard in proceedings brought against the State and its agencies?”
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties will closely study the Minister’s text over the coming days in order to fully determine the extent to which it effectively transposes the rights in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into the Constitution. It will also closely examine the probable effect of these draft provisions on the protection of the rights of children.
For further information, please contact:
Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)
9-13 Blackhall Place
Tel. + 353 1 799 4503
Mob: +353 87 9981574
Fax. + 353 1 799 4512
- The wording of the proposed amendment is available on the website of the Children’s Referendum at http://www.childrensreferendum.ie/thirty-first-amendment-of-the-constitution
- The recommendations produced by the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children in 2010 are available here: http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/mediazone/proposalforanamendmenttotheconstitution/#d.en.1552