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Ombudsman for Children supports call for Ireland to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon, has today (Monday) expressed his support for a recommendation by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, that Ireland should proceed with ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which concerns the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

“I wholeheartedly support the recommendation of Minister Zappone to ratify the Second Optional Protocol, which outlines measures to safeguard children from child trafficking, child pornography and child prostitution.

“Ireland signed this important Protocol in 2000. That Ireland has not yet ratified this Protocol is a matter of concern that has been highlighted on several occasions by my Office and by others working at national and international levels to advance children’s rights and to protect children from violence, abuse and exploitation.

“Almost 20 years since signing this Optional Protocol, Ireland should be well placed to demonstrate its capacity to protect children from sale, pornography and prostitution.

“Protecting children from abuse and supporting children who are victims of abuse, including sexual abuse, is vital. Having worked with Minister Zappone in advance of the ‘One House’ pilot model, I know that she is keenly aware of the importance of supporting children who are victims of abuse and reducing trauma as much as possible.

“I look forward to seeing progress in Ireland’s ratification of the Second Optional Protocol in early 2019 and urge Government to fully support the Minister in her work.

“I would also encourage the Government to move to ratify the Council of Europe’s Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (‘Lanzarote Convention’). Ireland is one of only three Member States of the Council of Europe that has not ratified the Lanzarote Convention, which sets out that states in Europe and beyond must implement measures to prevent sexual violence against children, protect child victims, and prosecute perpetrators.

Ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the UNCRC and the Lanzarote Convention are important steps that Ireland can take in 2019 to show our commitment to ensuring that children are safe and protected.”