27/05/2010

Amnesty Criticism Over Missing Children

Amnesty International has described the Government's failure to disclose details of children missing under state care as "frightening".

Amnesty International Ireland Executive Director Colm O’Gorman criticised Ireland's human rights record amid claims that 200 children have died while under State care in the ten years.

Mr O'Gorman went on to criticise the Government over its delays in bringing forward a referendum on children’s rights and a long-delayed report on the Irish arms trade.

“Governments, including our own, cannot hold themselves above the law. They cannot decide that human rights and international law apply only to their political opponents but never to themselves," Mr O'Gorman said.

According to Amnesty International, a total of 419 children disappeared from care between the end of 2000 and June 2009 and vulnerable children are being placed in adult mental health units.

”Irish governments have a very long tradition of big promises on human rights and no follow through,” said the Amnesty Chief.

He added: “We have ratified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. Yet hundreds of children have disappeared, others are placed in unsuitable mental health units and, despite all-party agreement, there is no date for a children’s rights referendum.

"The government has introduced legislation to monitor the Irish arms trade but it has failed in 2008 and failed again in 2009, to publish the reports the law requires.”

In the Dáil today the Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore TD added to the pressure asking the Taoiseach for answers on the deaths of children in care.

Mr Gilmore asked why the Government was still not in a position to say how many children died in the care of the State over the last 10 years and told the House that it was one thing to say the files cannot be handed over for legal reasons but quite a different thing that the numbers of deaths are not known.

The Labour leader went on to question the Taoiseach about the legal difficulties regarding sending files to the inquiry team in relation to the cases.

(DW/BMcC)

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