3 Oct 2008

Commissioner calls on Government to implement United Nations’ recommendations

NORTHERN Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley today called on Government to implement recommendations made by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. 

The commissioner said the influential committee had confirmed what most people already knew – services for children are not good enough.

In a set of Concluding Observations and Recommendations published today the committee has recommended Government improve services and enhance the rights of children in Northern Ireland.

“Children who are in most need are not getting the right services at the right time,” said Ms Lewsley. “This means that children in need of mental health services, who are disabled, or who are suffering poverty, are discriminated against in Northern Ireland. 

“This has today been recognised and acknowledged by the United Nations Committee.

“It is now up to Government to act on my concerns, the concerns of the UN and many, many others to enhance, promote and safeguard children’s rights.”

The commissioner said the reaction and her condemnation of insufficient action on children’s mental health needs has been reinforced by the UN Committee’s recommendations. 

“Earlier today I, and others, criticised the Department of Health’s response to the recommendations of the Bamford Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability. My criticisms are backed by the concerns of members of this influential United Nations committee.

“I will be monitoring Government’s response to these recommendations and I will shortly be asking Government during a forthcoming meeting with Ministers what plans it has in place to address the issues raised.”

 Notes to Editors:

  • The Concluding Observations and Recommendations (available here) from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child mark the end of its reporting process, which occurs once every five years for countries that have signed up to the UNCRC. The UN report has been prepared after papers on the state of children's rights across the UK were submitted and oral evidence delivered by the UK Government, and the Governments of all the devolved administrations, the Children’s Commissioners and non-governmental organisations and children and young people themselves.
  • The four UK’s Children’s Commissioners presented more than 100 recommendations to the UN committee in June, highlighting that despite clear recommendations from the UN in 2002, the Government has some way to keep the promises it made to children and young people when it adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)