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Ireland signs protocol on violence against women

The Government signed the Council of Europe Convention on Violence Against Women, a move which was welcomed by Amnesty International at today’s Universal Periodic Review.

File: Colm O'Gorman, Amnesty International
File: Colm O'Gorman, Amnesty International
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE IRISH GOVERNMENT committed to signing protocol on violence against women today at a UN Human Rights Council meeting.

The country signed the optional protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Council of Europe Convention on Violence Against Women.

Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, addressed the UN Human Rights Council following the statement by Ambassador Gerard Corr, Ireland’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva during a hearing as part of Ireland’s Universal Periodic Review.

Colm O’Gorman said Amnesty welcomes decisions to sign these treaties, saying they should strengthen human rights in Ireland, and will help fight violence against women.

We note that UN treaty bodies have expressed concern at the prevalence of violence against women and girls in Ireland. We further note the high withdrawal rates of related complaints to police and low number of convictions in such cases.

He added:

We hope the Government will quickly sign these treaties, and then move to ratify them to ensure the fullest possible protection for people living here.

The convention on violence against women was adopted in April 2011 and is described as:

the first legally binding instrument in the world creating a comprehensive legal framework to prevent violence, to protect victims and to end with the impunity of perpetrators. It defines and criminalises various forms of violence against women (including forced marriage, female genital mutilation, stalking, physical and psychological violence and sexual violence).

The Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognises the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family, which derive from the “inherent dignity of the human person”.

Regarding Ireland’s agreeing to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, Mr O’Gorman said:

There is no excuse for the five-year delay since Ireland signed this treaty on enforced disappearances. Quickly ratifying the treaty is essential, both as an act of solidarity with the disappeared around the world, but also if Ireland’s candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council is to have its best chance of success.

Amnesty International Ireland welcomed Ambassador Corr’s statement that Ireland would provide the council with an interim progress report but was critical of the refusal of the Irish Government to fully accept some recommendations.

Colm O’Gorman said:

While there was some good news today, we are disappointed that the Government failed to fully accept the recommendation to put housing and health rights into Irish law.

He said that the severe funding cuts in these areas makes it all the more necessary to put these rights in law to protect the most vulnerable, and called on the Government to ensure ways of doing this are examined by the Constitutional Convention.

The organisation also noted what it called the Government’s “disappointing” response to recommendations on Traveller ethnicity and corporal punishment of children, and the failure to address the abuse suffered by women and girls in the Magdalene laundries.

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

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

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