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Ireland's human rights record under spotlight at the UN

Ireland rejected some recommendations on human rights from the UN last year – and today it will have to explain why.

Image: USAID via Flickr/Creative Commons

IRELAND’S HUMAN RIGHTS record will be examined at the United Nations in Geneva today as the country bids to become a member of the UN Human Rights Council.

Ireland received one hundred and twenty seven recommendations from other UN member states on how to improve its human rights record last October. Justice Minister Alan Shatter accepted sixty-two of the reccomendations on the spot and another forty-six are due to be accepted by the government today.

Gerard Corr, Ireland’s ambassador to the UN, will be called on to justify Ireland’s rejection of the remaining nineteen recommendations at the hearing in Geneva today. The rejected recommendations include:

  • The recognition of Travellers as a separate ethnic group
  • The elimination of religious discrimination in schools
  • The provision of safe and legal abortion

“The government’s aceptance of 85 per cent of [the] recommendations is welcome, as is its aspiration to global human rights leadership,” said Mark Kelly of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. “However, Ireland still does not fully respect the human rights of all people on its own territory and has yet to fully accept, let alone to implement, some of the core UN human rights instruments”.

The Irish Human Rights Commission has said that Ireland’s progress on implementing the recommendations should underscore the application for membership of the Human Rights Council, which will take place next year.

The IHRC, members of which are due to speak at the UN at 11am Irish time today, said that Ireland needs to undertake concrete action on the rights of women, people with disabilities, Travellers, prisoners, asylum seekers, migrant workers and children.

Dr Maurice Manning, the president of the IHRC called on the government to implement a National Action Plan on Human Rights.

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