Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Questions (104)

Niall Collins

Question:

104. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has conveyed concern to the administration of the United States of America regarding the detention of children and the conditions they are being subjected to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28387/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I and my officials are aware of changes in US migration policy, which has seen an increase in the detention of child migrants, particularly along its southern border. We are also aware of reports on the conditions in which some migrant children and their families are being kept.

I have not specifically raised this issue with the US Administration;  however, I and my officials hold regular and constructive discussions with US officials on a range of issues. The new US Ambassador to Ireland, Edward Crawford, has just arrived in Ireland and I look forward to discussing the full range of political issues with him in the near future.

Ireland, for its part, closely abides by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which we have ratified and which sets out clear universal standards and protections for all children.

Article 3 of the Convention states parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff, as well as competent supervision.

Article 9 of the Convention states parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child's place of residence.

I note with regret that the United States has signed the CRC but has not ratified it. Ireland is supportive of the implementation of policies globally which live up to the values of the CRC and, in this regard, I hope the situation for migrant children and families, around the world, can be improved.