UN Council calls on Ireland to change abortion law

UN Council calls on Ireland to change abortion law
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

The UN's Human Rights Council has called on Ireland to allow abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, rape and incest.

A total of 262 recommendations were made to Ireland other member states under the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights, including some on abortion law reform.

A total of 152 have been immediately accepted, including one from the Vatican which wants a housing-led approach to end the problem of long-term homelessness.

Many recommendations are in relation to the need for Ireland to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT).

Ireland has promised to respond to the UN by September.

Only 13 of the 262 recommendations were rejected, including a call from Haiti to consider a universal basic income for every citizen.

Welcoming the response of the Irish Government, Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) executive director Mr Mark Kelly said: "Ireland's reaction to the 2016 Universal Periodic Review will come to be seen as a watershed moment in the protection of rights and equality in this State.

"The ICCL particularly commends the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD for accepting that it is high time that Ireland provides for independent monitoring of all places of detention and independent oversight of the treatment of people with disabilities.

"On the issue of abortion, the ICCL notes that there has been a sea change in the Government's attitude to criticism of our highly-restrictive abortion regime since Ireland last appeared before the UN Human Rights Council in 2011.

"At that time, Ireland rejected all recommendations to bring its law into line with international human rights standards.

"This time, none of the dozen solid recommendations on abortion law reform have been rejected and the Government has undertaken to give a full report on how they will be implemented to the United Nations by September 2016.

"Now is the time for the Government to publish its blueprint for the Citizen's Assembly on Repeal of the 8th Amendment that will provide the pathway to finally repeal Article 40.3.3 of our Constitution."

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