Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, October 21, 1999 Published at 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK

UK: Northern Ireland

Focusing on young people's rights

Young people's rights have been examined in new report

A new report focusing on the rights of young people in Northern Ireland has been published.

The report claims that the government is in breach of its international obligations to ensure that children and young people's rights will be upheld.

Getting it Right, produced by Save the Children and the Children's Law Centre, is an independent evaluation of the government's implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

According to the groups, it reflects the state of children's rights in Northern Ireland at the end of the 20th Century.

Author of the report Teresa Geraghty said: "Nearly 400 children and young people throughout Northern Ireland told us how their rights had been denied in education, youth justice, health, the care setting, play and employment and because of their race.

"It is their voices, their experiences, echoing throughout this report.

"Despite the fact that the government promised to uphold young people's rights when they signed the convention, there are many examples where this is not happening.

"In particular children in the justice system and traveller children have their rights breached on a daily basis," she said.

Health issues

The director of the Children's Law centre explained the concerns about children who come into contact with the criminal justice system and the health of traveller children.

Paddy Kelly said: "Our age of criminal responsiblity is 10. 10-year-olds are also subject to emergency legislation. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has already voiced their concerns about this but nothing has changed.

"The committee was also shocked by the conditions in which our traveller children are forced to live, likening them to third world conditions.

"Despite telling government of those concerns traveller children are still 10 times more likely to die before they reach the age of 10."

Save the Children's research manger Paula Rodgers said she hoped the reports' recommendations would be taken seriously by government and that there would be change.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a "promise" made by the government to all children and young people under the age of 18 years.

It was adopted by the UN 10 years ago in 1989.

Issues covered by the Convention include education, health, justice, care, safety, employment and culture.

The findings from Getting it Right, which has been endorsed by over 60 organisations and individuals in Northern Ireland, will be used to inform the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Services said they would read the report before making any comment.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

Internet Links

Save the Children

Children's Law Centre

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Machete used in sectarian attack

Unionists face historic choice

Tireless campaigner for peace

Clinton calls on unionists to back Trimble

UDP meets de Chastelain

We have basis for peace - Mitchell

New crackdown on dissidents

Big Apple debut for NI film-makers

Congress rules on RUC training

Selling the settlement

Mitchell intervenes to help shipyard

Shot fired at house

George Mitchell bids farewell

Talks parties' praise for Mitchell