Ireland and Human Rights
On 6 October, the UN will review Ireland’s Human Rights track record.
This happens under the so-called “Universal Periodic Review” process, under which UN member states can hold each other to account on the entire range of human rights obligations.
Because Dóchas feels strongly that states should respect and fulfil human rights – and that “poverty” is an infringement of people’s human rights – we have joined a group of organisations that want to raise awareness of the importance of this external assessment of Ireland’s human rights performance.
You can follow the proceedings at the UN hearing live, via http://www.rightsnow.ie/ from 8 a.m. Irish time.
For your information:
Dóchas wants Ireland to put human rights concerns at the heart of our foreign policy, and our overseas aid programme.
In this document you can read why: For Dóchas, the fight against global poverty and inequality is a matter of principle. Poverty is not merely the absence of food, water or other resources; instead we think of poverty as a manifestation of social, economic, cultural or political exclusion, and a denial of people’s basic human rights.
And human rights-based international assistance and cooperation is an obligation of all states. In other words, overseas aid is not just a luxury, it is an obligation under human rights treaties.
In May 2011, following a visit to Ireland, the UN Independent Expert on Extreme Poverty reminded the Government that “Human rights are not dispensable and cannot be disregarded in times of economic uncertainty.” She also called on the Government to keep its commitment to the target of spending 0.7% of national income on overseas aid. (see www.ActNow2015.ie)
Ireland has ratified the six core UN human rights treaties:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
- International Convention on the Rights of the Child
- International Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
- International Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Several other important treaties remain unsigned, however. These include:
- Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture
- Optional Protocol to the ICESCR
- Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
- Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
Dóchas and other Irish NGOs call on the Government to ratify and incorporate all UN human rights treaties (including Optional Protocols) into Irish law, and to develop a Human Rights Action Plan that includes human rights proofing of policy and legislation.
For more info see:
- Overseas aid as a human rights obligation – info sheet: http://www.dochas.ie/Shared/Files/4/UPR_International_Assistance.pdf
- Dóchas briefing paper on human rights: http://www.dochas.ie/shared/files/2/making_human_rights_a_reality.pdf
- and the UN declaration on the Right to Development: http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/41/a41r128.htm
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