20/11/2020 Image: Ombudsman for Children report ‘Direct Division’ on impact of Direct Provision on children.
Doras have marked Universal Children’s Day by calling on the Irish government to ensure no more children live and grow up in Direct Provision by honouring their commitment to end the system by 2023. The call is made on Universal Children’s Day, November 20th, as the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth prepare a White Paper on ending Direct Provision.
“Direct Provision is no place for any person, but especially a child,” said John Lannon, Doras CEO. “In the past year alone, there have been three major reports from medical professionals, the Ombudsman for Children, and the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, all highlighting how unsuitable and damaging the institutionalized Direct Provision system is for children.”
“Children experience racism, stigmatization and exclusion while living in Direct Provision,” said Lannon. “Too many children have spent the formative years of their lives growing up with those experiences in unsuitable living conditions.”
A report from the Ombudsman for Children earlier this year indicated that extended delays in processing asylum applications and consequent long stays in Direct Provision accommodation may have serious negative implications for children and their development.
“We call for the adoption of recent recommendations of the Advisory Group on international protection chaired by Dr. Catherine Day, in the White Paper on Direct Provision. Shorter processing times of asylum applications are essential for the wellbeing of children, as is a transition to independent living for all international protection applicants by mid-2023. Immediate evidence of a commitment to ending long term institutionalised living would provide hope for children and parents seeking a safe place to call home.”
Doras also asks the public to show their support for children in Direct Provision in the run-up to Christmas by taking two actions.
“You can donate to Every Child is Your Child, a community group that are working to provide vouchers to parents of children in Direct Provision centres across Ireland, so they can mark Christmas in a meaningful way this year.”
“You can also help affect lasting change by contacting your local TD to ask them to ensure the government have a clear, achievable plan for ending Direct Provision by 2023 so that no more children live and grow up in unsuitable institutional settings in Ireland. You can find contact details of your local TD at https://www.whoismytd.com/.”