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Top UN Experts to Highlight Threats to Rights in post-Tiger Ireland

31st March 2009

On Monday 6th April, 2009 a panel of top UN human rights experts will visit Dublin to highlight the Government's responsibility to protect the rights of the poorest and most vulnerable people in Ireland.

Speaking on the eve of budget day, UN Human Rights Committee members Judge Elizabeth Palm and Professor Michael O'Flaherty will discuss the international standards set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the importance of their implementation.

The conference, Implementing Human Rights in a Time of Change: Facing Up to Challenges under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) has been organised by the three leading human rights organisations: FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres), Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT), which last summer presented a "shadow report" to the UN Human Rights Committee detailing Ireland's implementation of its international human rights obligations.

The shadow report and the UN's own report have highlighted gaps in the protection of the vulnerable which the Government failed to close during the Celtic Tiger years.  For example, the law in Ireland continues, in effect, to permit the imposition of a term of imprisonment for failure to pay a civil debt; Irish prisons remain overcrowded and unhygienic; and measures combating domestic violence and protecting its victims remain inadequate. A series of UN human rights recommendations for Ireland produced last summer, which the Government has yet to implement in full, mirrored many of the shadow report's findings. In this harsher economic climate, positive action will be required to ensure that those left behind by the boom are not abandoned altogether.

This conference will provide a very timely opportunity to take stock of the Government's responsibilities towards the most vulnerable people in Ireland.

Implementing Human Rights in a Time of Change will take place from 10am on Monday 6 April in the Radisson Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8.

For further details on the conference, and to download the ICCL/IPRT/FLAC joint ICCPR Shadow Report and related materials, please visit www.rightsmonitor.org.



Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) is an independent human rights organisation dedicated to the realisation of equal access to justice for all. It campaigns through advocacy, strategic litigation and authoritative analysis for the eradication of social and economic exclusion.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is the leading independent, non-governmental membership organisation working to defend and promote human rights and civil liberties in Ireland. It was founded in 1976 by, amongst others, Mary Robinson, Kader Asmal, and Justice Donal Barrington. Over the past three decades, the ICCL has campaigned in the sphere of civil liberties and human rights reform, using international human rights standards to assess State law and policy. The ICCL does not seek or accept Government funding for its work.

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) is Ireland's leading non-governmental organisation campaigning for the rights of people in prison and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy. The IPRT is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations


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