Women’s Human Rights Alliance addresses United Nations

15 Mar 2012

Abortion reform, justice for survivors of Magdalen institutions and stronger protections for women experiencing violence were among some of the issues raised at the United Nations today by the Women's Human Rights Alliance (WHRA) Ireland.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva as part of Irelands Universal Periodic Review Jacqueline Healy of the WHRA expressed deep concern at the rejection by Ireland of 6 recommendations from UN member states in relation to restrictions on abortion, "These recommendations echo the criticisms made by three UN treaty bodies and the recent call by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health for the decriminalization of abortion" said Ms Healy. Their rejection casts serious doubt on Ireland's commitment to women's reproductive health rights" she said

Referring to the Irish Government's failure to provide reparation to survivors of Magdalen institutions Ms Healy stated that "We are gravely concerned that in accepting the Thai recommendation for a statutory inquiry and compensation scheme for women and children victims of abuse, there is no mention of the women survivors of Ireland's Magdalen Laundries who have been denied reparation. We call on the Government to comply with the recommendations of the UN Committee against Torture and Irish Human Rights Commission to institute a statutory inquiry and compensation scheme for the Magdalene Laundries abuse", she said.

Ms Healy called on the Irish Government to sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, to undertake an independent assessment of the National Women's Strategy and to address the issue of under representation of women in politics through the constitutional convention.

"Is it essential that the voices of women, excluded from so many arenas are heard and listened to at the UN" said Ms. Healy. "We hope that the strong messages coming from the United Nations will make the Irish Government take decisive and positive action on some of the key issues affecting the lives of thousands of women in Ireland to-day" she said.

The statement to the UN Human Rights Council was supported by;

  • Irish Family Planning Association
  • Women's Aid
  • Banulacht
  • National Women's Council of Ireland
  • OPEN
  • Migrant Rights Centre Ireland
  • Pavee Point
  • Cáirde
  • National Collective of Community Based Women's Networks
  • Justice for Magdalenes
  • AkiDWA
  • Immigrant Council of Ireland
  • National Traveller Women's Forum
  • Dublin Rape Crisis Centre

For further information contact: Jacqueline Healy - Women's Human Rights Alliance, 085 - 8586476, jacquelineh@nwci.ie