Ireland’s Rights Record under UN Spotlight

Ireland’s Rights Record under UN Spotlight

Press release – Dublin and Geneva, Thursday, 15 March 2012

Ireland’s human rights record will come under intense scrutiny at the United Nations in Geneva today (15 March 2012) for the second time in six months.

Last October, the Government received 127 recommendations to improve its human rights record from other UN member States, after Ireland’s first ever Universal Periodic Review (UPR).  Minister Alan Shatter accepted 62 recommendations on the spot and it is understood that another 46 recommendations will be accepted, or partially accepted, by the Government today.  This means that 85% of all the original recommendations will have been accepted / partially accepted by the State.

At today’s hearing in Geneva, Ireland’s Ambassador Gerard Corr will be called upon to justify Ireland’s rejection of the remaining 19 recommendations, which include the recognition of Traveler ethnicity, the elimination of religious discrimination in schools and the provision of safe and legal abortion.

Ambassador Corr will also be asked to explain the manner in which Ireland intends to implement the recommendations that it has accepted.

Today’s hearing is likely to attract intense international interest given Ireland’s decision to seek election to the UN Human Rights Council next year. 

Speaking on behalf of ‘Your Rights, Right Now’, Mark Kelly, Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, said:

“The Government’s acceptance of 85 % of its UPR recommendations is welcome, as is its aspiration to global human rights leadership.  However, Ireland still does not fully respect the human rights of all people on its own territory and has yet to fully accept, let alone to implement, some of the core UN human rights instruments.

“On Human Rights Day 2011, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore pledged that, if elected to the UN Human Rights Council, Ireland ‘will seek clear and strong action by the Council in addressing human rights violations and in promoting universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms’.

“Ireland’s appearance before the UN Human Rights Council today provides an ideal occasion for it to demonstrate that it genuinely understands that human rights leadership begins at home.”


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