United Nations Universal Periodic Review Submission

Apr 16 2021 Posted: 08:30 IST
Staff and postgraduate students at the Irish Centre for Human Rights have submitted a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council to inform Ireland's upcoming Universal Periodic Review examination. The report, available here, focuses on a range of issues. 
Regarding Sexual, Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, the report highlights that:
  • Data about GBV is not collected in a timely, impartial and transparent manner and fails to take into account minority and hard to reach groups, especially during Covid-19;
  • Inequalities concerning access to services are increasing, setting additional barriers for Roma, Travellers, women with disabilities, women living in rural areas and women with a precarious immigration status (amongst others);
  • In the legal system, a persisting lack of common understanding of the structural nature and the impacts of GBV prevents victims/survivors from accessing non-gender stereotyping and gender-sensitive justice; and
  • Services providing technical and emotional support to victims/survivors in navigating the legal system critically lack accessibility, visibility and funding.
The report calls on the Government to:  
  • Improve the collection and disaggregation of data in relation to GBV;
  • Increase funding and improve the provision of information and services, in particular to the most vulnerable groups;
  • Implement a training programme to equip Irish authorities and court personnel with expertise on equal provision to effective protection and response to GBV; and
  • Actively work towards the implementation of in-court support and referral services in every courthouse of the country, as it exists in Dolphin House, to improve the provision of services to victims/survivors.
The report also calls, among other things, for the Government to: 
  • Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, which would require the creation of an independent inspection mechanism for all places of lawful and de facto detention in Ireland.
  • Apply a series of measures to mitigate the harms of Direct Provision until the system detailed in the 'White Paper to end Direct Provision' is implemented, including: relocating children and families living in DP to own-door accommodation in the community; fast tracking applications and the granting of status to children and families in DP; and undertaking a disability audit of DP and emergency accommodation.
Regarding human rights protections in residential care contexts
  • Regulate the home care sector;
  • Ensure the protection of the right to informed consent in care settings;
  • Introduce statutory rights to care in the community to avoid unnecessary institutionalisation;
  • Carry out an investigation into human rights violations that have happened during Covid-19;
  • Ensure state resourcing of all institutional care settings to ensure that reasonable adjustments can be made and sufficient staffing provided to allow for maximum safe visiting and all possible communication between family members during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Regarding so-called 'historical' institutional and adoption-related abuses
  • Ensure access to justice and accountability for the Magdalene Laundries, including the establishment of an independent, thorough investigation and truth telling process;
  • Provide remedies and reparations for human rights violations in Mother and Baby Homes that are based on internationally recognised Transitional Justice Principles;
  • Fully respect, protect and fulfil the personal data access rights of all people who suffered abuse through the adoption system and in institutions.
  • Regarding Traveller housing and institutional racism: Prioritise and allocate additional long term and sustainable funding to Traveller led organisations who are working to combat racism and discrimination towards Travellers in Ireland.
  • Regarding undocumented migrants' access to basic services to enjoy the right to life in dignity: Adopt measures (in law and policy) that guarantee essential goods and services to protect the right to life regardless of migration status and guarantee the right to health care of irregular migrants beyond emergency care.
  • Ensure safeguards are in place at ports of entry to ensure that persons being denied leave to enter are not being placed at risk of refoulement including those arriving from jurisdictions categorised as safe countries of origin.
  • Implement recommendations given in relation to trafficking in persons in the reports issued on Ireland by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Persons.
  • Adopt new Hate Crime legislation to cover incitement to hatred and hate crime (online and in person) and include traveller representatives in the consultation process of such legislation to ensure that hate crime and hate speech against Travellers is specifically included in the legislation.
  • Regarding Business and Human Rights: Establish legislative measures with mandatory human rights due diligence requirements for large or State-owned companies; and address legal and practical barriers to ensure the availability of remedies for victims of business activities which harm human rights, including by companies domiciled in Ireland but operating or engaging in business activities abroad.