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International Framework

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) must operate in a global context and framework, provided primarily through its membership of the United Nations, the European Union and the Council of Europe.

International human rights norms ratified by Ireland, in particular the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and The Hague Convention on Adoption, provide a framework for domestic policy and practice relating to children’s rights. For example, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child spells out the basic human rights to which children everywhere are entitled, including the right to survival, the right to the development of their full physical and mental potential, the right to protection from influences that are harmful to their development, and the right to participation in family, cultural and social life.


1.    In July 2013, Ireland submitted its Consolidated 3rd and 4th Report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. Ireland’s reply to List of Issues was submitted to the UN in October, 2013.

Ireland’s most recent Examination by the Committee took place in January 2016 and prior to that in 2006. The Examination process resulted in the publication in February 2016 by the Committee of Concluding Observations of the Consolidated 3rd and 4th Report which contain recommendations for Ireland to address and in respect of which it will have to account to the Committee at the next Examination.

The State must make its next periodic report to the Committee by 27th October, 2021.

2.    Optional Protocols:
First Optional Protocol: Ireland ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict on 18th November 2002.

Full text of the First Optional Protocol.

•    Second Optional Protocol: Ireland signed the Second Optional Protocol (the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography) on 7 September 2000. Ratification of the Protocol is pending to ensure that all arrangements are in place to fully comply with the related obligations.   Considerable aspects of compliance with the requirements of the Second Optional Protocol have been addressed under the provisions of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 and the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008. 

Full text of the Second Optional Protocol is available here:

•    Third Optional Protocol: On 24th September 2014, Ireland signed and ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) establishing a communications procedure.  The Protocol provides for three separate communication procedures: The Individual Communications Procedure; the Inter-State Communications Procedure and the Inquiry Procedure.  (Information Note)

Full text of the Third Optional Protocol.

The Department also:
3.    Seeks to ensure other international commitments are met, including on adoption
4.    Actively participates in International fora/networks relating to children
5.    Has an active role in the development of EU youth policy, including participation in Council of Europe/EU Youth Working Group Party meetings, and participation in the EU Erasmus + programme
6.    Promotes North/South cooperation in the area of child, youth and family services and Youth Justice Services through -
• completion of existing work programme
• identification of new areas of cooperation


Links to relevant EU and International websites:

DCYA – UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - Information Page

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
European Commission Website for Children’s Rights

EU Forum on the Rights of the Child

ChildOne Europe
Council of Europe


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