Rights watchdog urges further action on women’s rights

Rights watchdog urges further action on women's rights

Sinéad Gibney

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has told the UN that Ireland has not done enough under its human rights obligations for women’s rights.

The right watchdog’s report reviews Ireland’s performance on combating discrimination against women, particularly in cases of historic abuse, and its compliance with its obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

The IHREC said the State has not done enough to discharge its human rights obligations in relation to the situation of women and children who were institutionalised in Magdalene laundries and those subjected to symphysiotomy.

The report also sets out that the State has failed to widen the investigation into mother and baby homes to include children currently excluded from the redress scheme.

The report focused on four areas where the UN had specifically requested the State to account for its fulfilment of woman’s rights and equality, which are acess to justice for historical abuses of women and girls; the provision of resources to the national human rights institution; the impact of austerity measures on non-governmental organisations; and access to abortion.

IHREc’s recommendations include measures to ensure victims of historical abuse have access to justice; a recommendation that human rights and equality organisations should be protected from budget cuts; and a call for rules on access to abortion to be strengthened.

Sinéad Gibney, chief commissioner of IHREC,said: Inadequate responses to historical human rights abuses can inflict further trauma on victims and survivors. The Commission has repeatedly emphasised that the State’s response to historical abuse has not met the required standards of providing people with effective remedy under the international human rights framework.

“Many survivors of abuse have been seeking redress for historical abuses for their entire lives, and are advancing in age. Further obstacles for victims and survivors should not be put in their way.”

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