Statement by the Immigrant Council of Ireland
The newly elected Government must prioritise the passing of the Sex Crimes Bill as the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child highlights shortfalls in Ireland’s response to child prostitution and human trafficking, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
The Council is calling for all political parties to commit to turning the bill into law after its progress was halted by the calling of the General Election.
The Immigrant Council also wants the new Government to respond to criticism of the treatment of children within the immigration and asylum system and to introduce a National Action Plan to combat racism.
Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council said:
“The conclusions of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child are timely given that after years of political, media and public debate the sex crimes bill has been left hanging in limbo with the calling of the election.
The Committee wants Ireland to beef up its commitment to protect children by signing international protocols on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography – all of which are addressed in the bill.
We are calling on political parties to commit now to ensuring that this long awaited and necessary legislation becomes a reality in the early weeks of the next Oireachtas.”
Catherine Cosgrave, Legal Services Manager with the Immigrant Council added:
“The Committees concerns about the treatment of children within our immigration and asylum systems are urgent – in particular in light of the current crisis and reports of thousands of children separated from their loved ones as they flee war and terror.
All children, no matter what their immigration status, must be treated the same by the State in terms of access to support services.
The UNCRC has also echoed calls by the Immigrant Council of Ireland for vulnerable children, including those trafficked or caught up in irregular immigration to be granted full and early access to legal representation.
In the coming weeks we will continue to study the recommendations and look forward to working with the new Oireachtas to ensure Ireland is a country where all children are treated equally.”