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Ireland elected to UN Human Rights Council for first time

Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty International said that this gives the Irish Government an opportunity to play a greater role in tackling some of the major human rights issues in the world today.

Image: USAID via flickr/Creative Commons

IRELAND HAS BEEN elected to the UN Human Rights Council for the first time.

During its bid to become a member, Ireland received 127 recommendations from other UN member states on how to improve its human rights record. It is to serve a three-year term on the council.

Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said:

It gives the Government an opportunity to play a greater role in tackling some of the major human rights issues in the world today. But like any successful candidate, Ireland must abide by the commitments it made during the election campaign.

He said Amnesty would particularly urge the Government “to put in place a firm timetable to ratify the Enforced Disappearances Convention and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities signed in 2007″.

We also urge Ireland to ratify as quickly as possible the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and to ensure that the new Human Rights and Equality Commission has adequate independence, remit, powers and resources.

Ireland was one of five states running for three seats reserved for the ‘Western Europe and Others’ group of nations. The United States and Germany join Ireland on the Human Rights Council, while Greece and Sweden were unsuccessful candidates on this occasion

Ireland’s human rights watchdog, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has welcomed today’s news.

ICCL Director Mr Mark Kelly said:

Ireland’s election in the face of stiff competition from other Western European states is testament both to its outstanding record in promoting human rights abroad and to the adroitness of its diplomatic efforts within the United Nations. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties is looking forward to cooperating closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as it strives to put into practice at domestic level the election commitments that it has made to other UN Member States.

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

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