Amnesty highlights Irish abortion restrictions in worldwide report
International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world.
Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International, said: “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world.”
The United Nations’ human rights bodies, the International Criminal Court, and regional mechanisms such as the Council of Europe and the Inter American Human Rights system, are “being undermined by governments attempting to evade oversight of their domestic records”, according to the report.
Amnesty International has documented how many governments “brazenly broke” international law in 2015 in their national contexts: more than 122 states tortured or otherwise ill-treated people and 30 or more illegally forced refugees to return to countries where they would be in danger. In at least 19 countries, war crimes or other violations of the “laws of war” were committed by governments or armed groups.
The organisation is also warning of a worrying trend among governments increasingly targeting and attacking activists, lawyers and others who work to defend human rights.
The report also noted limits on access to abortion in Ireland and Northern Ireland, the failure of Northern Ireland political parties to agree mechanisms for investigating the past, and Northern Ireland’s status as the only part of the UK where same-sex marriage is not allowed.
It also said the Irish government had failed to respond by the end of 2015 to a 2014 recommendation that the Constitution be amended to incorporate economic, social and cultural rights.
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland programme director at Amnesty International, said: “The last year has been marked by failure to deliver on key human rights issues facing Northern Ireland.
“Despite seemingly endless political talk, yet again there was no delivery for Troubles victims, for women who need access to abortion, nor for same-sex couples who want the same right to marry as the rest of society.
“People are increasingly frustrated with the apparent inability or unwillingness of politicians to deliver for those in society who need their human rights upheld. 2016 must become a year when such failure is replaced by success.”