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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 25 October, 2014

UN committee members hear call for independent Magdalene inquiry

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties presented a list of recent developments in Ireland to the committee.

Magdalene Commission Report
Magdalene Commission Report
Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire

A LIST OF issues relating to Ireland was presented to members of the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva today.

At the top of the list was a call for an independent investigation into the treatment of women held in the Magdalene Laundries.

The list was brought to the UN committee by Ireland’s independent human rights watchdog, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL).

It was presented by the ICCL’s in-house equality expert, Stephen O’Hare. The list will be used by the Human Rights Committee to prepare for its formal examination of Ireland’s human rights record under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

O’Hare said that the committee members “displayed a keen interest in recent developments in Ireland”. He added that they are aware that other UN treaty bodies, including the Committee Against Torture, have called for an independent investigation into the treatment of women held in the Magdalene laundries.

“This is an issue that is simply not going to go away,” said O’Hare.

Maeve O’Rourke of Justice for Magdalenes said that the Government is “wrong to have accepted the McAleese report as a comprehensive and objective report of the factual position” regarding the Magdalene Laundries.

“It is deeply troubling that the Government does not understand forced labour of thousands of girls and women to amount to systematic abuse, warranting independent investigation,” O’Rourke added.

Other topics on the ICCL’s list included: the progress of investigations into the death of Savita Halappanavar, discrimination against Roma and Travellers in Ireland, the operation of the Special Criminal Court, the ongoing merger of Irish Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority, moves toward gender recognition legislation, same-sex marriage and the recently enacted Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act 2013.

The ICCL anticipates that the Government will face some questions on the topics identified in its briefing paper when it appears before the Human Rights Committee next year.

The full text of the ICCL’s 70- page briefing to the Committee is available on the ICCL website.

Read: Call for immediate compensation as second Magdalene survivor passes away>

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