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2014 Press Releases

Justice Albie Sachs to deliver keynote on invisible victims of crime

4 Dec 2014

An international conference that focuses on the rights of children affected by parental imprisonment will be hosted by the School of Law, UCC on 5 December with the keynote delivered by Justice Albie Sachs.

Justice Sachs is a passionate human rights and anti-apartheid activist and a former Judge of the South African Constitutional Court appointed by Nelson Mandela. A book launch and a colourful art exhibition by children affected by imprisonment will also take place.

Justice Sachs, who survived imprisonment and exile as well as a car bombing in 1988, will be seen as a rallying force at the international conference organised by Dr Fiona Donson and Dr Aisling Parkes from the School of Law, UCC. The day-long conference, ‘Changing Mindsets, Changing Minds: The Rights of Children Affected by Parental Imprisonment’ will bring together those with direct experience of being affected by family imprisonment as well as those who work in the system such as community groups working with offenders and their families, the Irish Prison Service, the Probation Service and other children’s rights organisations.

Justice Sachs will also speak at a book launch on a related topic by conference convenor and UCC Law Lecturer Dr Aisling Parkes, following the conference. The book is entitled ’Children and International Human Rights Law: The Right of the Child to be Heard’ (Routledge).

Dr Parkes commented: Next Friday is an opportune time for this event and book launch as it coincides with the 25th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989. The book is based on Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that recognises the right of the child to be heard. It charts the development of this right but it also explores the extent to which the right of children to be heard in all areas of their lives is implemented in practice, in Ireland and right across the globe. Listening to children is critical to ensuring the protection of all of their rights in modern day society.”

Dr Parkes continued: “This group of children have been traditionally marginalised in society evidenced by the fact that there are no dedicated state supports for these children nor is there any specific recognition given to their rights and needs on a daily basis.”

Chief Executive of Children’s Rights Alliance, Tanya Ward, will open the conference.

In a unique way, the voices of children affected by imprisonment will be heard at the conference, through a special art exhibition to be hosted at Jennings Gallery, Brookfield Health Sciences Building, UCC. Children in Ireland who have a family member in prison have created the pieces of art. Dr Aisling Parkes and Dr Fiona Donson, the conference convenors and children’s rights academics, will officially open the exhibition entitled ‘'We are Outside' - Hearing the Voices of Children of Prisoners’.

This event, focusing on the invisible victims of crime, will be of interest to members of the public affected by parental imprisonment, social workers, Probation Service personnel, the Irish Prison Service, the judiciary, legal practitioners, human rights and criminal justice activists, children’s rights organisations, public interest law, social workers and educators generally.

For information on registration, a full schedule and ticket prices, please see

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF