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Minister Charlie Flanagan ratifies a key UN Protocol to strengthen the rights of Irish children


Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, T.D., today signed and ratified an important protocol to a UN convention designed to strengthen children’s rights.

The Minister is attending the 69th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, where world leaders and Foreign Ministers discuss solutions to some of the most pressing geopolitical issues.

Today at the United Nations in New York, Minster Flanagan signed and  ratified the 3rd Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This ratification, one of a range of Government initiatives to strengthen children’s rights, will provide Irish children with a route to a United Nations Committee, which can hear complaints in relation to violations of their rights where all available domestic remedies have been exhausted.

The UNCRC and its Optional Protocols provide the most extensive internationally recognised human rights framework for children.

Speaking from New York, Minister Flanagan, who previously served as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, said:

“I am pleased to sign and ratify the 3rd Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on behalf of Ireland. This important protocol will strengthen and complement national mechanisms allowing children in Ireland to submit complaints for violations of their rights. I would like to pay tribute to my colleague, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James Reilly, who brought the proposal to ratify this important protocol to Government."

Later today, Minister Flanagan will meet with Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, to discuss follow-up to the Special Summit on Climate Change, which Taoiseach Enda Kenny addressed yesterday. 

Noting the impact of climate change on hunger in the world’s poorest countries, Minister Flanagan said:

“I am looking forward to having a discussion with Mrs Robinson on Ireland’s work on climate-smart agriculture in Ireland’s key partner countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Climate -smart agriculture represents a ‘triple-win’ by increasing harvests, strengthening resilience against climate change and wherever possible reducing the carbon footprint.  Through Irish Aid, we support climate-smart agriculture and building resilience amongst local communities in Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Ethiopia. These local solutions can add real value to informing global policy so that we can sustainably combat hunger”. 

At the Climate Summit in New York, Ireland signalled our intention to join the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture. The Alliance is a global initiative that brings together governments, civil society and the private sector to share lessons, and build support for climate-smart agriculture.




Press Office

24 September 2014



Notes for Editors


1. Article 43 of the UNCRC makes provision for the establishment and role of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.  The UNCRC can be accessed on


2. Ireland signed the UNCRC on 30 September 1990 and ratified on 28 September 1992.


3. The Third Optional Protocol came into force for initial ratifying States in April of this year.


4. The protocol providea for  a communication procedure between citizens of participating states and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. 

5. The Third Optional Protocol will come into force for Ireland after three months have elapsed following its ratification. The Third Optional Protocol has been ratified by 11 States to date and has been signed by a further 36 States.

6. The text of the Third Optional Protocol, which can be accessed at, includes provisions relating to: Individual Communications (Article 5), Admissibility (Article 7), Consideration of communications (Article 10), Follow-up (Article 11) and Inquiry procedure for grave or systematic violations (Article 13).