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Ombudsman for Children raises key concerns with Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
26 Samhna 2007
Emily Logan, Ombudsman for Children, today (Monday, 26 November) met with Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.
During their meeting, the Ombudsman for Children raised a number of issues with Commissioner Hammarberg, each relating to vulnerable groups of children who face multiple barriers in terms of the realisation of their rights. In addition to the position of children in the Constitution, the issues the Ombudsman discussed with Commissioner Hammarberg included youth justice, mental health, and matters regarding separated and missing children.
Commenting on her meeting with Commissioner Hammarberg, Ombudsman Emily Logan stated:
“Earlier today, I spoke with Commissioner Hammarberg about the detention of children and young people in Ireland, particularly the continuing detention of children between the age of 16 and 18 in adult facilities. The redevelopment of children’s detention schools is a real opportunity to get things right for the future and I am keen for my Office to play a role in encouraging those involved to ensure that the best interests of children are at the heart of any future developments.
“I believe that the future development of the children’s detention school system should be centred on the principles of rights, rehabilitation and care. Having visited all of the detention schools and St Patrick’s Institution, I am convinced that the detention of children in prisons must end.
“I also discussed the issue of mental health services for children and young people with Commissioner Hammarberg, and told him of my concerns regarding the delayed implementation of the recommendations of Vision for Change, the report of the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy. The continued lack of services in particular for 16-18 year olds and the treatment of under 18’s in adult services remains a serious matter.
“Following my recent national tour where I met with 5000 children, many of them told me about the lack of local mental health services and the unavailability of services to which they could turn for help during times of stress or pressure, and I also shared their concerns with Commissioner Hammarberg.
“Finally, I raised with Commissioner Hammarberg the situation regarding the accommodation provided to separated children seeking asylum which unacceptably remains outside the independent inspection requirements of the childcare residential system. I also informed him that I am seeking the introduction of more detailed and effective procedures in supporting children in the care system that go missing.”
Note to editors:
Thomas Hammarberg was elected Commissioner for Human Rights by the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, following nomination for the post from the Government of Sweden. The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent institution within the Council of Europe, mandated to promote the awareness of and respect for human rights in all 46 Council of Europe Member States.
Commissioner Hammarberg engages in permanent dialogue with all Member States of the Council of Europe, and periodically conducts official county visits for a comprehensive evaluation of the human rights situation in that country. At the end of Commissioner Hammarberg’s visit to Ireland, he will present his preliminary observations during a press conference scheduled to take place on Friday, November 30th, at Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin (11.15am).
26 Samhna 2007