Statement from the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma, on abortion:
“As Commissioner for Children and Young People in Northern Ireland, I must have due regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, including recommendations it makes to the UK Government and devolved administrations.
“The UN Committee’s recommendations made in 2016, included one to ‘decriminalise abortion to ensure that girls have access to safe abortion and post-abortion services, review legislation with a view to guaranteeing the best interests of pregnant adolescents and ensure that their views are always heard and respected in abortion-related decisions.’(General Comment 20, Para 59).
“And also that ‘All adolescents should have access to free, confidential, adolescent-responsive and non-discriminatory sexual and reproductive health services, information and education.’ (General Comment 20, Para 60).
“Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in all schools in Northern Ireland must be comprehensive and consistent.
“This formed part of my advice to Government on its development of the NI Children and Young People’s Strategy in July 2016.
“Our government must provide an action plan as to how it intends to implement the recommendations of the UN Committee.”