‘Your Rights Right Now’ Press release – for immediate release
Dublin and Geneva, 23 September 2016
Irish civil society groups will address the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva today (Friday 23 September 2016), regarding chronic shortcomings in Ireland’s human rights record, especially in relation to the rights of women. Today’s hearing under the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) comes on the eve of what is expected to be the biggest-ever March for Choice in Dublin.
Speaking on behalf of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) led Your Rights Right Now coalition, Pia Janning will tell the UN Human Rights Council that the coalition “urges the State to fully protect the reproductive rights of women and girls in Ireland including their right to access safe and legal abortion, through Constitutional and legislative reform.”
Speaking before the event, Maeve Taylor, Director of Advocacy and Communications at the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) said that the Government’s proposed Citizens’ Assembly on Repeal of the 8th Amendment is “not sufficient to satisfy the State’s obligations under international human rights law.”
“The Government’s rejection of previous UPR recommendations for substantive reform of Ireland’s abortion laws is a considered disregard for its human rights obligations and a great disservice to women” Ms Taylor will say.
Ireland’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Patricia O’Brien, is expected to respond to these oral statements and to the UPR recommendations previously made about Ireland’s abortion regime by other UN member States by reiterating that the Citizens’ Assembly is currently the only means through which the Government will countenance abortion law reform.
However, Ambassador O’Brien will be able to report progress in some other areas and is expected to tell the UN that, even though it is not currently prepared to commit to a referendum on the 8th amendment, the Government intends to hold referenda to “repeal” the offence of blasphemy in the Constitution and to modernise its misogynistic provisions on the role of women in the home.
The UPR hearing will be available to view live online from approximately 11am Irish time at the address belowhttp://webtv.un.org/live-now/watch/33rd-regular-session-of-human-rights-council/4473498400001
Note for Editors
The ‘Your Rights. Right Now’ Coalition is made up of 17 Irish civil society groups and trade unions:
Age Action; Educate Together; Free Legal Advice Centres; Gay and Lesbian Equality Network; Immigrant Council of Ireland; Irish Congress of Trade Unions; Irish Council for Civil Liberties; Irish Family Planning Association; Irish Penal Reform Trust; Irish Traveller Movement; Mercy Law Resource Centre; National Women’s Council of Ireland; NUI Galway, Centre for Disability Law & Policy; Pavee Point; Transgender Equality Network Ireland; Union of Students in Ireland; Disability Federation of Ireland.
The ‘Your Rights. Right Now’ Campaign www.rightsnow.ie
The first stage of this high profile political peer review took place in May 2016, during which other UN countries made recommendations to Ireland about specific human rights issues in Ireland. Ireland accepted most of the recommendations but took the last 4 months to consider some 97 recommendations.
The Government’s response to the outstanding 95/97 recommendations is available in full under A/HRC/33/17/Add.1 http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session33/Pages/ListReports.aspx.
The UPR hearing is available to view live online from approximately 11am at the address below http://webtv.un.org/live-now/watch/33rd-regular-session-of-human-rights-council/4473498400001
Your Rights Right Now
The Your Rights. Right Now. Civil society coalition report can be downloaded from http://www.rightsnow.ie/assets/12/CA112F0B-5003-4355-994FBDD31DBB567F_document/DOC_1.pdf
The ICCL’s Blueprint for Citizens Assembly document which was received by every member of the Dáil in May 2016 recommends that a Citizens’ Assembly should be guided by principles of participation, transparency, the timely completion of its work and a commitment to reform.
The ICCL Citizen’s Assembly Blueprint is available from http://hearourvoices.ie/the-blueprint#sec2