Children’s rights in Northern Ireland have regressed, according to three reports produced by the Children’s Law Center, and submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. A wide range of NGOs, and over 1000 children, were consulted in the process. There are significant gaps in children’s rights. The best solution is the incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law.
Previous recommendations in 2016 remain unimplemented. Thus, recommendations for issues such as raising the age of criminal responsibility, removing the defense of reasonable punishment, the failure to enact a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland, and the introduction of age discrimination legislation to protect children.
In addition, issues that did not feature in 2016 are now major concerns. Issues such as the rising number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, as well as the growing numbers of newcomer children being held in unsuitable temporary accommodation.