Rights experts call for redress for 50 years of systemic racism in child care – Global Issues

Citing the information, 10 experts issued a joint statement saying that systemic racism in institutions between 1940 and 1990 “resulted in higher institutionalization rates for children of African and Irish descent.”

During their long stay there, the children were exposed to heightened risks of corporal punishment, sexual, physical and verbal abuse with lifelong consequences, including the violation of their right to enjoy the highest possible physical and mental health. Some of them also underwent vaccine trials.

Exchange of letters

Despite welcoming the Irish government An action plan to provide tangible benefits to survivors and former residents of mother and baby and county home care facilitiesexperts sent them a letter in April containing their allegations of racial discrimination.

In it, they raised the alarm that children of African and Irish descent “are being treated differently because of their race, color and/or origin, leading to further violations of their human rights”.

In response, the Irish government cited a formal apology issued on 13 January 2021 in which the country acknowledged “the additional impact of a lack of knowledge and understanding on the treatment and outcomes of mothers and children of different racial and cultural heritage”. .

He went on to acknowledge that such “discriminatory attitudes exacerbated the shame and embarrassment felt by some of our most vulnerable citizens, particularly when opportunities for non-institutional placement of children were limited by the unfair perception that children were unsuitable for family placement”.

Stolen childhoods

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

Due to the systemic racial discrimination that prevailed in children’s institutions at the time, experts emphasized that they had in fact been robbed of their “childhood”.

“We are deeply concerned about the serious and continuing consequences that racial discrimination and systematic racism have had on the lives of adults who are now seeking compensation,” the statement said.

Restorative justice

Under international law, states have an obligation to ensure accountability for past human rights violations and to provide full compensation to victims if these violations still have an impact.

The independent experts called on the Irish government to “take further action to provide effective remedies for those who were treated differently in institutions”.

The future rights abuse scheme “must recognize and redress all human rights abuses committed against children throughout their stay in Irish institutions, including mother and baby homes, industrial schools, correctional homes, Magdalen laundries and similar institutions. , but also lifelong effects,” the statement continued.

They concluded that the proposed bill payment scheme would provide redress for “the harm suffered by children of African and Irish descent as a result of racial discrimination and systemic racism”.

UN experts

The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council appoints special rapporteurs and independent experts to investigate and report on a specific human rights issue or situation in a country. The positions are honorary and experts are not paid for their work.

Click here to see the names of the experts who participated in the statement.