Press Release 20 November, 2019

The Stop Attacks Forum calls for a total end of all paramilitary attacks on men, women and children.  On the 30thanniversary of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) the Forum wishes to emphasize especially the rights of every child and young person to grow up in an environment free from threat, fear and violence.

Paul Smyth for StopAttacks said:

On Universal Children’s Day, we highlight the ongoing abuse of the rights of children and young people by paramilitary organisations.  To shoot children in the limbs, or beat them with crowbars and bats is an extreme form of physical and psychological abuse.

Our young people should not have to grow up in an atmosphere of fear, violence, trauma and intimidation.  We call on politicians, church leaders, community leaders and all those with influence to speak out against this without equivocation.

We call on the UK Government (particularly in the ongoing absence of a Northern Ireland Assembly) to fulfil its obligations under the UNCRC to protect children and their families.  We note with concern the criticism of the UK Government by the UN Committee Against Torture, of the failure of the UK Government to prevent the recruitment of children and young people to paramilitary groups, and to provide both protection and effective redress to the victims of this violence.  We further note the criticism from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child of the UK Government’s failure to protect young people from violent attacks and recruitment.

We point out that the brutalisation of children and young people which has gone on here for 50 years should not be tolerated and would not be tolerated in other parts of the world.  We note that the PSNI clearance rate for these crimes has been consistently lower than 3% over several years and call on all with any information of these vile crimes to pass information on the perpetrators to the PSNI or Crimestoppers 0800 555111.

We call on people to reject those who seek to deliver a version of justice at the point of a gun to commit to work with the PSNI to develop better, more effective solutions to community issues and to hold the Police to account when they don’t deliver.

We challenge all who have verbally or otherwise supported attacks on children and young people in the past to cease that support and work with others to find nonviolent solutions to local issues.

We urge all involved in attacks to end these at once.

We call on our society to develop more imaginative ways to deal with crimes and anti-social behaviour at a local level, and to recognize that many of the young people involved have complex needs to which brutality is the worst possible response.

We ask all in our society to ensure that all children here can enjoy the rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

 

Editor’s notes

 

  1. The #StopAttacks Forum is a group of youth workers, academics, Church members, clergy and other activists who have come together to develop robust and long-term strategies to end paramilitary shootings and beatings and the culture of threat and intimidation created and sustained by these groups. Attached: posters challenging community attitudes to paramilitary attacks on children and young people.
  2. For detail on the UN criticism see this article by Siobhan McAlister and Paula Rodgers https://participationforprotection.wordpress.com
  3. Feel free to share this film made by young people about the impact of paramilitary assaults https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPXouy1OUwk&t=51s
  4. Twitter campaign: @StopAttacks1Website stopattacks.org
  5. For queries/interviews contact Paul Smyth – 07949 695969 paul@wiseabap.com
  6. Report on the impact of paramilitary assaults on young people and their families here https://wiseabap.com/stop-attacks/
  7. Statistic on posters relates to figures from the PSNI 1982 – 2017

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