Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ireland's Children's Rights Referendum

The date of the Children's Rights Referendum and the wording of the proposed amendment to the constitution has been published.
Voting will take place on Saturday Nov 10th and the wording of the proposed amendment is set out below
Thirty-First Amendment of the Constitution
1.            The State recognises and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children and shall, as far as practicable, by its laws protect and vindicate those rights.
2.             In exceptional cases, where the parents, regardless of their marital status, fail in their duty towards their children to such extent that the safety or welfare of any of their children is likely to be prejudicially affected, the State as guardian of the common good shall, by proportionate means as provided by law, endeavour to supply the place of the parents, but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child.
 2° Provision shall be made by law for the adoption of any child where the parents have failed for such a period of time as may be prescribed by law in their duty towards the child and where the best interests of the child so require.
3.            Provision shall be made by law for the voluntary placement for adoption and the adoption of any child.
4.             Provision shall be made by law that in the resolution of all proceedings-
i brought by the State, as guardian of the common good, for the purpose of preventing the safety and welfare of any child from being prejudicially affected, or
ii concerning the adoption, guardianship or custody of, or access to, any child, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.
 Provision shall be made by law for securing, as far as practicable, that in all proceedings referred to in subsection 1° of this section in respect of any child who is capable of forming his or her own views, the views of the child shall be ascertained and given due weight having regard to the age and maturity of the child.


Much has already been written on the pro's and con's of the issue but I would particularly drraw the attention of readers to cautionary articles by both John Waters and Mary Ellen Synon

I would also like to draw attention to a communication from "Mothers at Home" which sets out 10 reasons for voting no in this referendum.

10 Reasons to vote No in the Children's Rights Referendum

1/ Your legal right under Article 42.5 of the Irish Constitution to decide "Best Interests" for your own child will be handed over to the State. Parents will be reduced to Caregivers under the UNCRC.

2/ Your child can be placed for adoption against your will. You will not need to be accused or convicted of any crime and the arbitrary decision can be made by one person. The entire process will take place in secret Family Courts and you will be gagged and prevented from speaking out.

3/The State can decide for example to vaccinate every child in Ireland, and the parent, and even the child have no say in the matter. You do not need to be consulted or give permission. Joan Burton has already hinted that Child Benefit will be tied into vaccination records, this could be extended to school admission.

4/ The State can decide to give Birth Control to children of any age, even if they are below the Age of Consent. The State can bring children to other countries for abortions without parental consent and even if the child disagrees. (X case, C Case, D case)

5/ The UN and the EU can make any laws for children without consent of the Irish Government if it wishes. This allows unelected people in the EU and UN to write Irish Laws without prior notice. This removes what little Sovereignty Ireland has as a nation.

6/ The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is no mere statement of altruism, it is a legally binding Human Rights Treaty which, if Article 42 is changed, will allow unelected people in the EU and UN to re-write Irish Law. Fully ratifying the UNCRC will now make every other treaty that we have ratified also apply to all Irish Children. The entire landscape of Irish Law may need to be rewritten.

7/The UNCRC does not give Irish children any privileges they did not possess before. Parents have always vindicated the rights for their child. As children are not autonomous, the State can decide anything even if the child disagrees. Effectively, this also removes children's rights.

8/ The "Best Interest Principle" of the UN is nothing more than a slogan. Was it in the "Best Interests" of the 260 who died in Irish State "Care", or the 500 who went missing and many were later found to have been trafficked into prostitution and slavery? We believe if Ireland is to have a World-Class Child Protection System that "Best Interests" should be replaced with "to the Measured and Demonstrated Benefit of the Child" and it will need to be measured and demonstrated. Despite 760 children missing or dead in a decade, nobody has ever been held accountable. In the Baby P case 2 doctors were struck off and 4 social workers fired, in Ireland 260 dead, 500 missing and nobody was punished.

9/ The UNCRC only gives "Rights" to children but there is no obligation on the Government to comply. Children in developing nations whose Governments have ratified the UNCRC have the so-called “right” to food and water and yet children are dying. Children are executed in some countries and the UNCRCC does not protect them, only their "Rights". Many of the countries that have ratified the UNCRC allow for Child Soldiers, Child Forced Marriage, the Death Penalty for Children and even Female Genital Mutilation. The UNCRC does not protect children.   Their parents protect them.

10/ The question we are being asked here is "do you trust the Irish State, the UN and the EU to make decisions for your children when your parental rights have been eliminated?" If you are not 100% sure you must vote no.

Ireland have already signed and ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child the current referendum is to remove any Constitutional barriers to its implementation