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Northern Ireland: Amnesty call on police to stop strip searching children

Amnesty International has called on the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to end the practice of strip searching children.

The call comes after a report published today by The Detail revealed that 34 children were strip searched last year by the PSNI, some as young as 12-14 years-old.

According to the data revealed via a Freedom of Information enquiry to the PSNI, no drugs, weapons or anything else harmful was found as a result of 91% (31 out of 34) of the strip searches.

Further, in 14 of the 34 cases, the PSNI was unable to provide any justification for the strip searches, even though officers are obliged to record this information.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said:

“The use of strip searches against children constitutes a serious violation of their dignity and human rights. Further, it shows serious disregard for the PSNI’s commitment to human rights and the UK’s obligations under international human rights law to uphold the rights of the child.

“We call on the PSNI to end this shocking practice immediately.”

Background

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says that:

- “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.” (Article 3)

- “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” (Article 37).

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