Human rights audit raises 20 rights issues the State needs to address

An audit of Ireland’s human rights performance has highlighted 20 issues which require attention by the State.

Human rights audit raises 20 rights issues the State needs to address

The audit was led by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and involved a coalition of 17 NGOs, trade unions, and civil society groups.

The areas highlighted include health issues such as: The historical abuse of women and children in medical/institutional care; the rights of persons with disabilities; the right to the highest attainable standard of health; and mental health.

Other issues include: The right to education; the right to adequate housing; the right to work; gender equality; violence against women; LGBTI rights; the rights of older people; reproductive rights; the rights of the child; and Traveller and Roma rights.

The review called Your Rights, Right Now comes in advance of Ireland’s next formal hearing before the United Nations Human Rights Council, under the UN’s universal periodic review (UPR).

This independent audit of Ireland’s human rights performance since its last UPR hearing (2011) will assist the Human Rights Council to identify areas where progress has been made, as well as highlight issues on which further work is required.

Speaking before the launch of the audit, ICCL executive director Mark Kelly said the issue of gay marriage was a key issue where the Government showed leadership on an issue of human rights.

“The Government has shown outstanding leadership on some of the issues raised in Ireland’s first UPR, especially on the issue of marriage equality. The positive impact that the marriage referendum has had on Ireland’s international standing is marked — Ireland is a country which only decriminalised homosexuality in 1993 — yet we are now seen as a global leader in LGBTI rights,” he said.

However, Mr Kelly said the audit showed Ireland had a long way to go in terms of our human rights record, with a number of key areas where our record was “less than exemplary”.

“This second cycle of UPR is an opportunity for Ireland to show leadership in other areas where its performance to date has been less than exemplary, including the retention of antediluvian abortion laws, the failure to ratify important international instruments on disability and ill-treatment, the absence of recognition of Travellers as an ethnic minority and the ongoing failure to recognise economic, social and cultural rights in the Constitution,” he said.

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