Rights experts call for redress of 50 years of systemic racism in childcare facilities – Global issues

Citing information received, 10 experts gave a link statement says that systemic racism in childcare facilities between the 1940s and 1990s, “resulted in a higher proportion of institutionalized African and Irish children”.

During their prolonged stay there, children face a high risk of corporal punishment, sexual, physical and verbal abuse, with lifelong consequences, including infringement of their right to the highest standards of physical and mental health. Some of them have also been tested for the vaccine.


Although welcome to the Government of Ireland Action Plan to provide tangible benefits to survivors and former residents of county maternal and newborn education facilities and homesexperts sent them a letter containing allegations of racism in April.

In it, they raised the alarm that children of African and Irish descent were “treated differently because of their race, color and/or origin, resulting in a violation of their human rights”.

In response, the Government of Ireland referred to the State’s official apology issued on 13 January 2021, in which the country noted “the additional impact that the lack of knowledge and understanding have had to do with the treatment and outcomes of mothers and children of diverse cultural and racial heritage”.

It continued, acknowledging that “such discriminatory attitudes have exacerbated shame and stigma against some of our most vulnerable citizens, especially when opportunities for non-facility children are constrained by the unwarranted belief that they are unfit to be placed in the family”.

Childhood is stolen

While a State apology is an important element of the restorative justice process, experts say it is “not enough”.

Given the systemic racism prevalent in childcare facilities at the time, experts emphasized the fact that they had their “childhoods” stolen.

“We are deeply concerned about the severe and continuing effects that systemic racism and racism has had on the lives of adults now seeking redress.” written statement.

Restorative justice

Under international law, States have an obligation to ensure accountability for past human rights abuses and to fully compensate victims, as long as these violations still have an impact.

Independent experts called on the Irish Government to “do more to provide people who are treated differently in childcare facilities with effective remedies”.

A future plan to address human rights violations, “must recognize and provide remedial action for all human rights violations perpetrated against children during their stay in institutions.” institutions in Ireland, including mother and infant homes, industrial schools, reform schools, Magdalen Laundries and similar facilities, as well as lifelong impacts,” the statement continued.

In conclusion, they note that the proposed “Bill Payment Scheme” provides a pathway to remedy “the harms caused by systemic racism and discrimination that children of African descent and Ireland suffers”.

UN expert

Special rapporteurs and independent UN-appointed experts are based in Geneva Dong Nhan Quyen Association arrive check and report back about a particular human rights topic or a country situation. The positions are honorary and professionals are not paid for their work.

Click here for the names of the experts who participated in the statement.

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