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Refugee council hails end of hostel use

Resource type: News

The Irish Times |

Original Source

by RUADHÁN Mac CORMAIC, Migration Correspondent

THE IRISH Refugee Council has welcomed as an “enlightened step” the Government’s commitment to end the use of hostels to accommodate separated children seeking asylum.

The change was recommended by the Ryan report into institutional child abuse.

Dr Siobhán Mullally, a member of the council’s executive board, said the Government had so far failed to meet its international obligations to protect such children.

“This failure has contributed to an increased risk of exploitation, and to many separated children going missing from HSE care,” she said.

“Separated children are extremely vulnerable. The risk of trafficking and abuse of separated children is very grave. If properly implemented, the Government’s response to the Ryan report could prevent such human rights abuses from occurring again in this State.”

As part of a 99-point plan announced by the Government last week to strengthen the child protection system, the Health Service Executive (HSE) will end the use of separately run hostels for separated children seeking asylum and accommodate them in mainstream care by December next year.

Moreover, the HSE will in the interim inspect and register residential centres and hostels where separated children seeking asylum are placed.

“We congratulate the Minister for taking this positive and enlightened step,” Dr Mullally added.

More than 20 foreign children have gone missing from HSE care so far this year, while more than 450 have gone missing since 2000.

In April, the Ombudsman for Children began an investigation into the standards of care available to the estimated 180 separated children seeking asylum who are residing in the State.

© 2009 The Irish Times

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