Taking action - Action finally on human rights

THERE is a certain satisfaction to be derived from convincing tardy politicians to take action on human rights issues. 

This happened yesterday when a new parliamentary forum set up to promote and protect human rights, met for the first time following an Irish Examiner revelation that Ireland was eight years late submitting a major report to the UN on discrimination against women.

The UN has repeatedly criticised Ireland’s record on human rights because a string of governments have dragged their feet on issues ranging from the treatment of women and children and the rights of disabled people, to the victims of symphysiotomy, recognition of Travellers as an ethnic group and the rights of transgender people.

The upshot of highlighting these and other glaring omissions in the course of an interview with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties is that issues which have been neglected for years will now be addressed.

The council has an impressive record of lobbying inactive governments to repair the yawning gaps in Ireland’s respect for international human rights standards.

High on the agenda of pressing issues in the queue to be reviewed by the new Human Rights, Justice and Equality committee, chaired by Fine Gael TD David Stanton, is the controversial ban that prevents human rights organisations from getting charitable status under the 2009 Charities Act.


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