Women’s rights report - Tackling violence still a concern

Women’s representative organisations, and those concerned about women’s rights in this country, will endorse the latest report from the United Nations.

Apart from recommending the removal of what it claims is sexist and anti-women stereotyping in the Constitution, the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is critical of the level of violence against women in Ireland and what is being done about it.

Although it acknowledges positive developments the Government has taken since the consideration of its second and third reports in 1999, CEDAW outlines remaining serious areas of concern and makes wide-sweeping recommendations.

The UN committee has called on the Government to submit its current report to all relevant ministers and to the Oireachtas, in order to ensure the full implementation of the recommendations.

Twenty years ago, the Government signed the International Convention of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and this is the latest review of its adherence to date.

A five-yearly report has to be presented by each state that signed the convention, and the UN committee had recently appraised the latest Irish one and issued its report. It found the Government seriously wanting across a whole gamut of women’s rights and it insists these deficiencies be addressed.

The committee wants the Government to incorporate all the provisions of the convention into domestic law.

The committee expressed its concern about the prevalence of violence against women and girls and remarked on the inadequate funding for organisations that provide support services to women. It wants sustained training and initiatives to raise the awareness of public officials, particularly judges and health professionals.

It reinforces the view that those in a position to tackle violence against women should be more familiar with the issues that can cause it.

The low prosecution and conviction rate, allied to the high rate of withdrawal of complaints, is a disturbing feature of one of the most serious problems with which society has to contend.

The comprehensive report, obviously influenced by the submission made to the committee by the Irish Human Rights Commission, also highlights violence suffered by women from marginalised and vulnerable groups, including Travellers, migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees, and women with disabilities.

Perplexingly, CEDAW say women with disabilities will benefit from recent developments, including the National Disability Strategy of 2004 and the Disability Act of 2005. Apart from the glaring fact that the Presidential ink has hardly dried on the Disability Act, the legislation has been controversial because of what it fails to do, especially in the absence of rights-based services.

CEDAW has recommended that the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution take the convention fully into account in considering any amendments to Article 41.2, which refers to women’s duties in the home.

It also seeks to underline the State’s obligation to actively pursue the achievement of substantive equality between women and men.

More in this section

News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up
Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd