UN Child Rights Committee Calls for Urgent Measures on Traveller and Roma Children

Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre, along with a coalition of Traveller organisations, welcomes today’s publication of the Concluding Observations on Ireland by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. Ireland’s record on children’s rights was reviewed by the Committee for the fourth time last month. 

2018 ©Photo by Derek Speirs

The main areas of concern in the Concluding Observations draw the State’s attention to a number of areas of concern for Travellers, Roma and other minority children.

Pavee Point endorses the Committee’s concern to strengthen measures to eliminate discrimination against Traveller, Roma and other minority children and to ensure their access to adequate accommodation/housing, healthcare, education and a decent standard of living.

Mental Health

“We support the call to progress the Traveller and Roma mental health action plans and develop a designated mental health support service for children of minority ethnic groups, with a focus on providing support to those who have experienced racial discrimination and related trauma.

“This along with the resourcing and implementation of the National Traveller Health Action Plan, which the Committee also recommends, were among priority issues highlighted with the Committee Members in Geneva,” said Mary Brigid Collins of Pavee Point.

Mary Brigid Collins and Gabi Muntean in Geneva last month.

Habitual Residence Condition

Gabi Muntean, Roma Community Worker in Pavee Point, said she was glad that the State had been asked to assess the impact of the Habitual Residence Condition on children of ethnic minority groups, including Traveller and Roma children, and amend social welfare payments accordingly to ensure that policies do not have a discriminatory effect on children. 

She called for immediate measures to ensure that child benefit can be granted to all children as an anti-poverty measure, in line with the announcement of the child poverty unit in the Department of the Taoiseach.

Targeted Measures Throughout Education

‘For a long time, Pavee Point and other Traveller organisations have been calling for targeted measures to improve education outcomes for Travellers’, said Megan Berry, a Community Worker in Pavee Point. ‘We fully welcome the recommendation for the State to implement targeted measures to improve the educational outcomes of Roma and Traveller children at all levels of education, in particular at secondary level, and to develop the National Traveller Education Strategy.’

Megan Berry, Community Worker at Pavee Point.

National Traveller & Roma Inclusion Strategy

Pavee Point also welcomes the recommendation to set a clear timeline for the next National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy and strengthen measures to ensure the enjoyment of Traveller and Roma children of all rights under the Convention, including with regard to full and equal access to education, health services and adequate housing and freedom from discrimination and violence.

National Action Plan Against Racism

For Travellers and Roma, and all others affected by racism, we urge the government to implement the recommendation of the Committee that they launch without delay the National Action Plan against Racism; allocate sufficient resources for its implementation; designate an entity responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the plan and ensure that children of minority groups can participate in the evaluation and optimisation of the plan.

Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, along with National Traveller Women’s Forum, Minceir Whiden, Donegal Travellers Project and Galway Traveller Movement made submissions to the Committee last year and participated in the review of Ireland this January. In addition to the above recommendations, the Committee draws the State’s attention to a number of other recommendations on children’s rights and calls for urgent measures in relation to them.

Please read full Concluding Observations on Ireland by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child

See links for our full Alternative Report and Update to the Committee. 

See our web report on speaking up for Traveller & Roma children at Ireland’s review in Geneva in January, 2023.