Amnesty International Ireland has welcomed a number of key commitments to protect human rights made by the Irish Government at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today.
The Irish Government was replying to 50 of the 127 recommendations made by the council in October to improve human rights in Ireland.
Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, addressed the UN Human Rights Council following the statement by Ambassador Gerard Corr, Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva.
The Government today committed to signing the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Council of Europe Convention on Violence Against Women.
Colm O’Gorman said: “We warmly welcome decisions to sign these treaties that should strengthen human rights in Ireland, and that will help fight violence against women.
“We hope the Government will quickly sign these treaties, and then move to ratify them to ensure the fullest possible protection for people living here.
Regarding Ireland’s agreeing to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, Mr O’Gorman said:
“There is no excuse for the five-year delay since Ireland signed this treaty on enforced disappearances. Quickly ratifying the treaty is essential, both as an act of solidarity with the disappeared around the world, but also if Ireland’s candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council is to have its best chance of success.”
Amnesty International Ireland welcomed Ambassador Corr’s statement that Ireland would provide the council with an interim progress report but was critical of the refusal of the Irish Government to fully accept some recommendations.
Colm O’Gorman said: “While there was some good news today, we are disappointed that the Government failed to fully accept the recommendation to put housing and health rights into Irish law.
“The severe funding cuts in these areas makes it all the more necessary to put these rights in law to protect the most vulnerable. We are calling on the Government to ensure ways of doing this are examined by the Constitutional Convention.”
The organisation also noted the Government’s disappointing response to recommendations on Traveller ethnicity and corporal punishment of children, and the failure to address the abuse suffered by women and girls in the Magdalene laundries.
Today’s session in Geneva concludes the examination of Ireland by the UN Human Rights Council under a system known as Universal Periodic Review.
Under this method the human rights record of every UN member state is examined once every four years by their peers.
In October 2011, the UN Human Rights Council, after examining Ireland’s record, made 127 recommendations for improvement. The Government accepted most of those recommendations and was today responding to 50 it agreed to look at in greater detail. Of these, Ireland fully accepted 29, partially accepted a further 17 and rejected four.
Read Amnesty International Ireland’s response to the UN Human Rights Council.