A confidential report by the Collaborative Forum on Mother and Baby Homes, seen by RTÉ News, found there was systematic discrimination against women and children of mixed-race families.
It says that children confined in such institutions "were stripped of their identity, culture and in significant cases even of their ethnicity and language as a result of their family destruction based on their status at birth."
The government published the recommendations of the report in December 2018, but did not publish the full report on the advice of the Attorney General.
The report describes the experience of mixed-race families in stark terms.
"In echoes of the systemic racial segregation in the Apartheid era of South Africa, mothers who were members of the mixed-race community within the various institutions report how on the one hand, they were racially profiled and their children were eugenically rated for likely intelligence based in part on the nuns' assessment 'of the intelligence of the natural mother and how 'negroid' the features of the infant were'," the report said.
"On the other hand, when it came to the child's records, the religious orders did not record the ethnicity of a child's parents and that the default description - African - was mainly used," it added.
It records the testimony of one woman who was born in an institution:
"The names of our fathers were routinely ignored when admitted to Mother and Baby Home. Our African fathers were professional men, doctors, engineers and journalists but this was deliberately hidden from us. The removal of our identity, while at the same time, refusing our claim to an Irish identity has been catastrophic for the mental health of the mixed-race community. This was particularly important to mixed-race, unaccompanied children on the receiving end of racist practices in these Homes."
It says: "Another mixed-race man highlights however that it was not just the ethnicity of fathers, which was hidden: What really pisses me off is the theft of my identity, I was never told that I had a black mother."
His mother describes her son's predicament as follows: "My child is one of those mixed-race Irish who spent his life not knowing his roots and thought his natural mother was white Irish, this information was deliberately kept from him."
Another issue highlighted in the report is the stigmatisation of children who were born to unmarried parents and how mixed race children were racially abused.
It details that "one older unaccompanied child, who spent over six years in what they describe as one of the worst Mother and Child Institutions recalls the following: 'I remember being shouted at. I was told I was a b*stard and my mother didn't want me that I was the result of the devil's work'."
It says "a mixed-race child remembers: I thought 'N***er' and 'B*stard' were my names they were shouted at me so often."
It says another survivor recounted how their colour was listed under defects, saying: "I was racially profiled before this was even in the common language of today."
The report says: "It is understood that children with disabilities as well as those from the Travelling community were also described as defective and not readily made available for adoption. It is anticipated that life for these marginalised groups will be a matter that the Commission of Investigation may comment on in their final reports."
The report is also highly critical on the lack of information available to survivors of institutions, saying:
"It is the view of the Forum that all of the victims and survivors of Ireland's architecture of containment endure daily ongoing stigmatisation and discrimination by being denied access to their own identities, personal histories, early care records, educational records and medical records, etc."
TUSLA has said this is a complex area which was to be addressed by the Adoption Information and Tracing Bill which was not passed into law before the end of the 32nd Dáil and this would be a matter now for the 33rd Dáil.