Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Ireland
The working group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) sat on the 6th October 2011 to review Ireland’s overall human rights record and performance. The Review was conducted as part of the regular work of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
This is the first report issued under the UPR mechanism that has reviewed Ireland’s human rights record. Where single UN committee’s can review certain aspects of a state’s performance, such as under civil and political rights, the Review seeks to get a general spread of human rights issues and problems across a wider range of actors and topics.
This report, for example, looked at the government’s record from a human rights perspective on matters relating to unemployment rights, racial profiling, prison accommodation, budget cuts, religious discrimination in access to education, the proposed referendum on children’s rights and recognising (and supporting policies leading to equal access to opportunities for) Travellers as a minority group, among many other matters.
Following the Irish government’s submission of a state report to the working group on the UPR, stakeholders from civil society organisations responded to this with individual and joint submission responses of their own. As a result of this process, the working group then issued a summary of promotion and protection of human rights in Ireland as well as a series of conclusions and recommendations to the government on its human rights performance to date.
These conclusions contain both positive and negative features that are brief, practical and focussed that relate to specific policy and practice in Ireland.
In total 63 recommendations were issued, with a further 50 recommendations to be examined by the Irish government with which they are to deliver responses to the working group no later than March 2012. A further 15 recommendations did not enjoy the support of Ireland.
Big Ideas in this Resource
Ireland has achieved a great deal in terms of the promotion and protection of human rights – both in and outside of its shores.
Ireland, however, has yet to ratify/bring into law certain human rights instruments such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to submit late reports to human rights committees (such as the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women which is waiting since 2007 for the Irish government progress report) and it has yet to withdraw reservations to core international human rights instruments.
Civil society has had a strong impact at UN level – the committee considers all of the reports submitted to them from non governmental organisations (not just Ireland). In this case, over 60 joint and single reports were sent to the UPR all of which can be seen here http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRIEStakeholdersInfoS12.aspx
Basic facts about the UPR are available from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website http://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/upr/pages/BasicFacts.aspx
Full details of the UPR – Ireland review page (and links) can be found here http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR%5CPAGES%5CIESession12.aspx
- National report submitted by Ireland to the working group
- Summary of stakeholder information submitted to the working group
- Compilation of UN information on international human rights standards
What is the Universal Periodic Review?
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years. The UPR is a significant innovation of the Human Rights Council which is based on equal treatment for all countries. It provides an opportunity for all States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights. The UPR also includes a sharing of best human rights practices around the globe. Currently, no other mechanism of this kind exists.