In March, the OLA, together with our partners, the Presentation Sisters, Christian Brothers and Edmund Rice International, were invited to make an oral statement to the Human Rights Council on the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Ireland. This oral statement was a follow-up to our joint civil society submission to the UPR of Ireland made last year (see a summary of our UPR Submission here: Universal Periodic Review of Ireland 2021 – Civil Society Submission). This was a collaborative effort with Br Brian Bond of Edmund Rice International, Br Donal Leader – Advocacy Officer for the Christian Brother, and Brian O’Toole – Justice Officer for the Presentation Sisters. Our submission was facilitated by Edmund Rice International who have an office in Geneva.
The Universal Periodic Review
Every four and a half years, the UN Human Rights Council hosts a universal periodic review (UPR) of each country’s record on human rights (to learn more see here https://vimeo.com/573934503). As part of the process, civil society organizations are invited to lodge submissions outlining their concerns about specific human rights issues affecting their country. Ireland’s review took place on 10 November 2021. Our submission covered three interrelated human rights issues: human trafficking, domestic and gender based violence, and migrants’ rights. The concerns and recommendations raised in our submission helped to inform the interactive dialogue with Ireland on 10 November. Following this interactive dialogue, the Irish Government accepted several of the recommendations and noted others. Among the recommendations accepted, several addressed the concerns raised in our submission.
Invitation to Make an Oral Statement
In March of this year, several civil society organizations were afforded the opportunity to make a follow-up oral statement during the Human Rights Council session at which the report on Ireland was adopted. Through our partnership with Edmund Rice International, we were invited to make an oral statement. This allowed us to further draw attention to the key recommendations in our 2021 civil society submission. On our behalf, Brian O’Toole recorded a two minute oral statement which was televised at the 44th meeting of the 49th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 24 March 2022. Our statement was one of only 15 made by civil society groups in response to the outcome of Ireland’s UPR.
OLA – IPA – ERI Oral Statement on the Outcome of the UPR of Ireland (Third Cycle)
Edmund Rice International and partners welcomes Ireland’s commitment to tackle Domestic and Gender Based Violence, and the announcement of refuge spaces in 9 counties where there are currently no such spaces. However, this still falls short of the one space per ten thousand of population required by the Istanbul Convention. We encourage the Government to ensure the upcoming Third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence includes the collection of disaggregated data, and ongoing training for frontline staff.
Ireland’s commitment to tackle human trafficking is welcomed, and the Government is asked to confirm its commitment to re-establish a dedicated anti-trafficking unit within the Department of Justice, and to develop a third national action plan, as per recommendation 157.136. We welcome the intention to revise the National Referral Mechanism and encourage Government to empower and train appropriate groups, other than An Garda Síochána, to identify and refer trafficking victims. We also encourage Government to provide a timeline for ratification of the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children.
Ireland’s commitment to ensure integration of migrants is noted, however, inadequate housing for asylum seekers and refugees remains a concern. Administrative obstacles also remain, persons entitled to apply for naturalization require a valid passport, which many refugees cannot provide. Where extenuating circumstances exist, we recommend this requirement be waived in a consistent manner for asylum cases. Finally, we encourage the enactment of the International Protection (Family Reunification Amendment) Bill 2017.
To view the recording of the proceedings of the 44th Meeting of the 49th Regular Session of Human Rights Council (Ireland, UPR Report Consideration) follow the link:
The OLA-IPA-ERI oral statement, delivered by Brian O’Toole, begins 32 minutes into the recording.
Our UPR Joint Civil Society Submission can be downloaded here:
To learn more about our partners visit their websites: