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Ireland ‘must fill serious gaps’ in human rights record

The government faces examination by the UN today, amid warnings that the most vulnerable social groups are at risk.

Dr Maurice Manning
Dr Maurice Manning
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE GOVERNMENT WILL be examined on its human rights record by the UN today, as campaigners call on ministers to address “serious gaps” in the protection of vulnerable groups.

The Irish Human Rights Commission has said improvements are necessary in Ireland’s legislation on the rights of Travellers, migrants, asylum seekers, women, children, people with disabilities, people in poverty and prisoners. It has called on the government to make commitments in 15 specific areas, but none of these have been forthcoming.

Ireland’s record on cooperation with international human rights mechanisms and upholding equality will be under the microscope today as the government faces its first examination under the UN’s Universal Periodic Review system – a mechanism to examine the human rights records of 192 countries every four years, set up in 2006.

The Irish Human Rights Commission will also sit in on the meetings. Its president Dr Maurice Manning said: “this is a key opportunity for the Government to make positive human rights changes in Ireland. There have been serious gaps in the State’s efforts to date to meet its human rights obligations.”

He continued: “Drastic cuts in resources over the last 3 years to human rights and equality bodies have hampered our efforts to safeguard human rights and to hold the State to account,” adding that it is “vital that this chance is grasped” to fill the gaps and safeguard the vulnerable in society.

Read more: Ireland’s abortion laws under UN spotlight>

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Michael Freeman

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