State’s “Diligent” UN Rights Performance Marred by “Intransigence” on Abortion Ruling says ICCL

Press release – for immediate release

Monday, 10 October 2011

Ireland’s independent rights watchdog, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has welcomed the State’s “diligent” performance in its first United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

In the UPR “Outcome Report” released today (10 October 2011) after Minister Alan Shatter’s UPR hearing last Thursday, the Government commits to consider almost 90% of the human rights recommendations made by other UN member States.
These include important commitments to improve monitoring arrangements in places of detention and to strengthen the rights of persons with disabilities, including by reforming the law of guardianship.

The Outcome Report reaffirms the commitment of the Irish Government to the “expeditious implementation” of the 2010 European Court of Human Rights abortion judgment in the case of A, B and C v Ireland.  However, the ICCL has expressed regret that the Irish Government has chosen to reject specific advice from Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom as to how this should be done.

The ICCL will be transmitting a copy of Ireland’s UPR Outcome Report to the Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, for the information of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.  It will also be writing individually to the Permanent Representatives of Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom to the Council of Europe to ensure that they are made aware of the responses that have been provided by Ireland regarding the execution of this judgment.

Speaking shortly after the release of the Outcome Report, ICCL Director Mr Mark Kelly said:

“The UPR process has provided clear evidence of the commitment of the new Government to improve Ireland’s human rights performance.  It has also confirmed that, globally, Ireland remains the odd-one-out where providing clarity around abortion procedures is concerned.  Implementation of the 2010 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on this subject is a legally binding obligation on Ireland and it would be politically prudent for the Government to act swiftly to discharge that obligation.  It would be a shame if the Government's diligent UPR performance were to be marred by its intransigence on this issue”.

For more information, please contact:

Walter Jayawardene
Communications Manager
Irish Council for Civil Liberties
9-13 Blackhall Place
Dublin 7
Ireland

Tel. + 353 1 799 4503
Mob: +353 87 9981574   
Fax. + 353 1 799 4512

E-mail  walter.jayawardene@iccl.ie

NOTES TO EDITOR:

The Full text of the Outcome Report can be downloaded via the www.rightsnow.ie website at:

http://www.rightsnow.ie/assets/33/EE233723-DF06-071C-4AE13BF3B5377791_document/Ireland_UPR_Outcome_report_10_Oct_2011.pdf

What is Ireland’s ‘UPR’ ?

The 6th October 2011 was a big day for Ireland, marking the first time that Ireland will go under the spotlight of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Process.  The Universal Periodic Review is a process through which the human rights records of the United Nations' 192 Member States are reviewed and assessed every four years, and this October it’s Ireland’s turn. This process is also a genuine opportunity for people in Ireland to highlight important human rights issues facing the country, and encourage Ireland to promise to address these issues in front of an audience of its international peers.

Notes on the Geneva Hearing

Ireland’s hearing under the UN Universal Periodic Review took place in the Palais des Nations in Geneva today (6.10.11) between 8am and 11am Irish time. The Irish Government Delegation was led by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter. The hearing was streamed live via the ‘Your Rights Right Now’ campaign website at www.rightsnow.ie, and via the UN at http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/c/12th-upr-2011.html. You can watch footage of the hearing, split into bite size segments separated by State, at: http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/c/universal-periodic-review.html

The case of  A, B and C v Ireland at the European Court of Human Rights

The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of A, B and C v Ireland is available at this link: http://cmiskp.echr.coe.int/tkp197/view.asp?item=1&portal=hbkm&action=html&highlight=Ireland%20|%20A%2CB%20|%20C%20|%20v&sessionid=78373408&skin=hudoc-en

In its judgment, the Court found “that the authorities failed to comply with their positive obligation to secure to the third applicant effective respect for her private life by reason of the absence of any implementing legislative or regulatory regime providing an accessible and effective procedure by which the third applicant could have established whether she qualified for a lawful abortion in Ireland in accordance with Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution.”

In 16 June 2011, the Government of Ireland submitted an “Action Plan” to the Committee of Ministers indicating that it is “committed to ensuring that the judgment in this case is implemented expeditiously”. It is available at this link:

https://wcd.coe.int/wcd/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1802037&Site=CM&BackColorInternet=C3C3C3&BackColorIntranet=EDB021&BackColorLogged=F5D383

In the view of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the general measures proposed by the Government of Ireland in its ‘Action Plan’ do not amount to expeditious implementation of the Court’s judgment.

A 4-page communication by the ICCL outlining these criticisms was submitted to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers under rule 9(2) of the Rules of the Committee of Ministers for the supervision of the execution of judgments and of the terms of friendly settlements (adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 10 May 2006 at the 964th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies). It is available at this link: https://wcd.coe.int/wcd/ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=DH-DD%282011%29645&Language=lanEnglish&Site=CM


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