??Young people representing UNICEF Ireland & the Children’s Rights Alliance members travel to Geneva to address UN Committee
Dublin, 10th June 2015 – Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. James Reilly TD was this morning presented with an innovative new report into children’s rights in Ireland. #PictureYourRights offers a unique snapshot into life as a young person in Ireland today, highlighting critical issues such as mental health, bullying and direct provision.
UNICEF Ireland and the Children’s Rights Alliance, has supported more than 500 young people to prepare a 124 page report which captures their experience of being young in Ireland. In addition, more than 2,000 young people completed an online survey to share their views. Discrimination, in all its guises, is a key theme of the report, with young people highlighting their experience of being ignored or treated unequally because of their youth. The report puts forward a number of recommendations including an end to direct provision, better community mental health services and the reform of religious education.
Five young people this week attended the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva, where they officially presented the #PictureYourRights report to a panel of international child right experts. Under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Ireland’s performance on a range of key child rights issues is periodically examined by the UN.
The #PictureYourRights Project team, which is made up of 31 young people, said: “We want an Ireland where we are valued, treated equally and made to feel like we all belong. We want an Ireland where our opinions are heard and action is taken based on them. We want an Ireland that respects us and our futures.”
UNICEF Ireland’s Executive Director, Peter Power said: “Today is a very important day for Ireland’s children and young people. #PictureYourRights is an opportunity for Ireland’s children and young people to share their views, directly with members of the UN committee on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF believes in empowering young people to speak for themselves, to share their ambitions, concerns and experiences of being young in Ireland. Together with the Children’s Rights Alliance members, we have shown a picture of Ireland through the lens of its youngest citizens.”
Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, Tanya Ward, said: “”This group of young people has told us what life is like for a young people in Ireland in 2015. Their lives are more pressurised and complicated than ever before. The issues they talk about are wide-ranging including stress from exams, body image and being an LGBT young person. They are brilliant young people, their honesty is inspiring and they deserve to be listened to. I call on the Government and policy makers to take note and take action so that every young person has a chance to have their potential fulfilled.”
In January 2016, Ireland’s record on children’s rights will be examined by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Eighteen international child’s rights experts will assess Ireland’s performance on a range of children’s rights issues, including education, equality and access to essential services. The #PictureYourRights campaign, run by UNICEF Ireland and the Children’s Rights Alliance and partially funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, allows children and young people to share their views with the committee’s representatives.
Notes to editors:
- UNICEF Ireland’s Executive Director Peter Power and the young people involved in the project are available for interview.
- Images from the event, taken by Julien Behal, have been sent to the picture desks.
- For further information, visit http://pictureyourrights.com/
- The Picture Your Rights Project began in December 2014, running both digitally and in person. More than 2,090 young people completed an online survey, and we received over 250 creative submissions to the report.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.ie
For further information please contact:
Clare Herbert, UNICEF Ireland, Communications and Media Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org / +353 87 942 1281 / + 353 1 878 3000