Scroll down to find out more about UN reporting.
Every 6-8 years the UK and devolved governments’ implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is examined by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. NICCY, and the other UK Children’s Commissioners have a key role in informing the Committee as to the situation in Northern Ireland, through engaging directly and submitting written reports.
The current reporting cycle began in 2020 with the submission of ‘shadow’ reports advising the Committee about which it should ask the UK Government during the examination of the State Party. The cycle ended in June 2023 with the UN Committee issuing its Concluding Observations on the state of children’s rights in the UK.
Update: Concluding Observation Report – 2nd June 2023.
The Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child are the main outcome of a State Party examination on adherence to children’s rights – in this case the UK Government. These observations compiled in a public document, notes the progress achieved by the UK Government since the last examination process, and sets out the Committee’s principal areas of concern and recommendations to the Government to realise the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and/or its Optional Protocols.
The concluding observations are based on the issues discussed during the dialogue with the reviewed State, which in turn have been informed by the information shared by non-state advisers such as the NI Children’s Commissioner (NICCY), local NGOs and crucially, children and young people themselves.
Following the UK Government’s evidence session with the UN Committee, this reporting cycle concluded on the 3rd June 2023 when the Committee published their Concluding Observations or recommendations.
This report then provides a basis for NICCY’s advice to government in subsequent years, up to when the next reporting cycle begins again.
We also bring the Concluding Observations and Calls on Government to the NI Executive and their Departments to monitor progress on these in line with our statutory remit.
NICCY, along with the Children’s Commissioners in England, Scotland and Wales, produced a joint ‘List of Issues Prior to Reporting’ report. We also engaged with children and young people across the UK to produce a report of the views of children and young people.
The UN Committee then submitted its ‘List of Issues’ to the UK Government (March 2021), who responded on 16 June 2022:
The Children’s Commissioner in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales submitted an updated joint report in response to the Committee’s questions. This identifies emerging trends and key issues and provides recommendations to improve children’s lives. We also submitted an updated report on the views of children and young people across the UK.
You can find out more about some of the issues highlighted in the report by watching this video:
The UN Committee reviewed these reports, along with reports from NGOs and National Human Rights Institutions, and used them to examine how the government is keeping the promises it made when it signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Committee met – face to face – with non-state advisers in advance of the meeting with the State Party. This including the NI Children’s Commissioner, the NI Human Rights Commission, local NGOs and most importantly, children and young people from Northern Ireland themselves, including young people from the NICCY Youth Panel.
The Committee met with representatives from the UK and devolved governments and asks questions about the steps taken to implement the UNCRC across the UK.
Just prior to examination of the State Party, NICCY put forward an additional submission (14 April 2023) to highlight our concern about the financial situation affecting the delivery of Northern Ireland’s public services and the adverse impacts this represents in respect of children’s and young people’s rights.
You can see the previous work on UN reporting here.