The Irish Government is failing to meet its own agreements for protecting the rights of children, Irish religious have warned.
In a joint submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Irish religious said they are “very concerned” that the Government is “falling short” in a number of key areas.
The five areas identified were: human trafficking, domestic violence, children living in the Direct Provision system, right to education and racism in schools.
The submission came in response to the Government’s evaluation of its own implementation of the Rights of the Child, as part of a standard review of Irish practice by the UN.
“Government has a responsibility to find the resources needed to fulfil its obligations,” Mr John McGeady, justice officer for the sisters of Our Lady of Apostles told The Irish Catholic.
“We as citizens are entitled to those rights and Government has a duty to uphold and vindicate those rights.”
While acknowledging that some improvements have been made, Mr McGeady said “there’s a lot more work to be done”.
The submission highlights the Government’s failure to meet international agreements, such as for the number of refuge spaces for domestic violence victims.
It also shows that Ireland’s Government is not addressing the “growing evidence” that ethnic minority people are suffering “substantial distress” due to racism in schools.
The religious orders call for anti-racism training for teachers and the introduction of a State-wide intercultural education plan. The last intercultural education plan ended in 2015 and has yet to be replaced.
“The State’s failure to identify racism as a problem in schools and to propose solutions is very concerning,” the report says.
The six religious orders and civil society groups who created the submission are: the sisters of Our Lady of Apostles; the Presentation Sisters; the Society of African Missionaries (SMA); the Cork Migrant Centre; the Christian Brothers; and the Presentation Brothers.
The joint submission by religious orders and civil society groups was one of many submitted to the Committee for the Rights of the Child.
Read Ruadhán Jones’ full featured article on the Irish government’s failure to protect children’s rights here.