Human rights record - Failures in the spotlight

The UN Human Rights Committee will tomorrow deliver its final verdict on Ireland’s human rights record in light of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which the State ratified in 1989.

The indications are that the committee will point not just to past failures here, but to possible future ones as well. The committee chairman, Nigel Rodley, has already been savage in his criticism of our human rights record. “The Magdalene laundries, the mother-and-baby homes, the child abuse, the symphysiotomy,” he wrote. “It’s quite a collection, and it’s a collection that has carried on [for a] period that it’s hard to imagine any state party tolerating.”

He also had strong views on our recently introduced Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, questioning why an unborn life should prevail over the life of the mother.

Neither he nor the committee can be ignored, so perhaps it is time to look at the act again in the light of such criticism.


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