4 February 2020
Four of the major parties contesting General Election 2020 have committed to ICCL’s 8 straightforward but crucial asks which would advance the cause of human rights in Ireland if implemented.
Sinn Féin, the Green Party, the Social Democrats and People Before Profit/Solidarity all committed to bringing in safe access zones; outlawing hate crime and image-based sexual abuse; abolishing the Public Services Card; ratifying the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture; establishing an Independent Police Ombudsman and an Ombudsman for Victims of Crime; and reforming the Electoral Act if elected.
At a press conference this morning Peter Kavanagh of the Green Party, Tara Deacy of the Social Democrats and People Before Profit’s Eoghan O Ceannabháin outlined their party’s commitments to ICCL’s 8 asks.
The Labour Party committed to six of the asks but could not promise to abolish the Public Services Card. It agreed with ICCL that government should comply with the findings of the Data Protection Commissioner. A spokesperson said the party was open to establishing an Ombudsman for Victims.
Fianna Fáil committed to five of the asks, but would not commit to bringing in safe access zones or abolishing the Public Services Card. A spokesperson said the party was open to keeping reform of the Electoral Act under review.
Fine Gael also committed to five of the asks. It would not commit to abolishing the Public Services Card. It would only commit to reviewing the Electoral Act in the context of establishing an Electoral Commission. Like Labour, the party remained “open” to exploring the possibility of establishing an Ombudsman for Victims.
ICCL Executive Director Liam Herrick welcomed the commitments received:
“We warmly welcome the strong pledges by so many of our major parties to implement these important human rights commitments. Each of these 8 human rights asks will make a significant impact for the electorate and can be delivered within a short period. These party pledges are an important step towards delivery of change – but the crucial next step will be translating these promises into commitments in the Programme for Government. We, alongside our members and supporters, will continue to campaign on these issues until we see them delivered.”
Many of ICCL’s 8 asks have already been recommended by expert bodies such as the Commission on the Future of Policing (a new Police Ombudsman) or indeed are required under law by EU directives (an Ombudsman for the Victims of Crime). ICCL has been running a public campaign on all 8 asks. 3,419 emails have been sent to candidates by our members and supporters across all constituencies at the time of going to press.
Watch the press conference at this link.
ICCL members also attended the press conference and posed questions to the candidates. You can join ICCL here: iccl.ie/join.
Notes for editors:
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties is Ireland’s leading independent human rights campaigning organisation. We monitor, educate and campaign to secure human rights for everyone in Ireland.
Find ICCL’s 8 asks here: https://www.iccl.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ICCL-MANIFESTO.pdf
Find the public campaign here: https://www.iccl.ie/ge2020-take-action-for-change/
For comment: Liam Herrick email@example.com
For media queries: firstname.lastname@example.org 087 4157162