Amnesty International has accused the Government of failing to deliver on its promises to protect children's human rights.

In its annual report, the human rights organisation expresses particular concern at vulnerable children being placed in adult mental care facilities, a practice it describes as 'inexcusable'.

The organisation has also highlighted the disappearance of 419 children in care in Ireland between 2002 and 2009.

Amnesty says these cases are a clear breach of Ireland's commitments under the international convention on the rights of the child.

It has called for urgent progress on the referendum on children's rights.

Amnesty's report on the state of the world's human rights cites 61 countries for torture, 55 for unfair trials and 48 for imprisoning people for political or religious beliefs.

Amnesty International Ireland Executive Director Colm O'Gorman said: 'Governments around the world have a pick and choose attitude to human rights. They seem to think international law applies only to the countries they disagree with but never to themselves.

'Governments, including our own, cannot hold themselves above the law. They cannot decide that human rights and international law apply only to their political opponents but never to themselves.

'Irish governments have a very long tradition of big promises on human rights and no follow through.

'We have ratified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. Yet hundreds of children have disappeared, others are placed in unsuitable mental health units and, despite all-party agreement, there is no date for a children’s rights referendum.'