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Group criticises Ireland over rejection of abortion recommendations

The Irish Family Planning Association criticised the government’s rejection of recommendations on abortion; but the move was welcomed by the Society for the Protection of the Unborn.

Carmel Stewart, a lawyer for A B and C, reads the ECHR's ruling at its courtroom in Strasbourg.
Carmel Stewart, a lawyer for A B and C, reads the ECHR's ruling at its courtroom in Strasbourg.
Image: Image: Christian Lutz/AP

IRELAND’S REFUSAL TO bring in recommendations on abortion from other UN Human Rights Council member states was criticised today by the Irish Family Planning Association.

The criticism was heard at Ireland’s Universal Periodic Review hearing, at which it was stated that Ireland had fully accepted 91 of 127 recommendations, partly-accepted 17, and not accepted 19.

In his speech, Ireland’s ambassador to the UN, Gerard Corr, said that Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, had set up an expert group on the issue.  He said the group was expected to present its findings in July of this year. Ireland rejected six recommendations from peer countries, a move which was criticised at the hearing.

The representative of the Irish Family Planning Association said that it was “deeply concerned” that the Government was rejecting all recommendations on women’s reproductive rights from countries such as Slovenia, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK.

She said that “the outright rejection of these recommendations and continued criminalisation of women in Ireland [who want to access abortions]” is “astonishing in a state that expresses such respect for human rights in its report”.

She said this amounts to a “disregard” by the Government “of its human rights obligations” and that its rejection of recommendations of its peers “falls short” of the duty of all states to protect all human rights. The representative asked the Irish government if the expert review group on abortion will be affirmed to the principles of human rights.

A representative from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said that the right to life of all members of the human family recorded in the UN declaration of human rights is protected and that it is a “scientific fact that new human life begins at conception”.

He spoke of the right to life of the unborn and described them as the “most vulnerable members of the Irish family”. He said they should be protected from the beginning and should not be subjected to the will of others.

He said SPUC appreciated the fact that Ireland rejected the recommendations and that the ruling of ABC vs Ireland “does not require Ireland to either introduce or liberalise abortion laws”.

In the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment in the case of A, B and C versus Ireland, it was found that while women do not have an automatic right to an abortion, Ireland had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by not providing abortion procedures in line with the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Read: Ireland’s human rights record under spotlight at the UN>

Read: Iran “concerned over human rights violations in Ireland”>

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