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MEDIA ADVISORY: Inhuman and Degrading Treatment in Ireland comes under UN Spotlight

16th May 2011

UNCAT Report 2011_thumb

Ireland’s human rights record comes under renewed scrutiny by the United Nations tomorrow (Friday 20 May 2011) at 11am Irish time, (12 noon Geneva time), when UN experts will hear directly from the Irish authors of a new report on the State’s performance under the UN Convention against Torture.

As they are speaking at the UN’s Palais Wilson in Geneva, their “Joint Shadow Report to the Review of Ireland under the United Nations Convention against Torture” will be launched in Dublin (at 11am in Buswells Hotel, Dublin 2), by the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL).

The Joint Shadow Report benchmarks Ireland’s performance under the United Nations Convention against Torture, and makes 50 clear recommendations to Government on action required to enable the State to meet its obligations under this treaty. The Report is the product of over a year’s research and consultation by the ICCL and IPRT with the Irish NGO community, including the Children’s Rights Alliance, the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Women’s Aid and Spirasi. The report has been endorsed by 31 Irish NGOs.

Concerns raised in the report include: the absence of effective complaints and inspection mechanisms for places of detention; inhuman and degrading conditions in prisons; the plummeting rate of recognition for people seeking asylum and the need for appropriate rehabilitation services for people living in Ireland who have been victims of torture in other countries.

Speakers at the launch will include: Mark Kelly, Director, ICCL; Liam Herrick, Executive Director, IPRT; and John Stanley, Irish Refugee Council.

The event takes place at Buswells Hotel (Georgian Suite), Molesworth St, Dublin 2 on Friday 20 May, 2011 at 11am. To register, please contact Mary Gaffney at info@iprt.ie or tel: 01-8741400

Media spokespersons from the IPRT and the ICCL are available in Dublin and in Geneva.

For all media enquiries, or to arrange an interview with speakers, please contact:

  • Fíona Ní Chinnéide, Campaigns & Communications Officer, Irish Penal Reform Trust; T: + 353 1 874 1400 E: communications@iprt.ie
  • Walter Jayawardene, Communications Manager, Irish Council for Civil Liberties; T: + 353 1 799 4503 E: walter.jayawardene@iccl.ie


1. Ireland’s Examination under the UN CAT

The Committee Against Torture (CAT) monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by State parties which have ratified the Convention. On 23 and 24 May, 2011 Ireland will be examined for the first time by the UN Committee Against Torture on the extent to which it is meeting its human rights obligations under the Convention. A high-level government delegation will take part in a public hearing in front of the UN Committee against Torture.

A team of Irish NGOs, including the ICCL and IPRT will also travel to Geneva to present an advance briefing to the Committee on 20 May 2011, alerting it to some of the major issues it feels are not adequately tackled in the Government’s report.

On 3 June the UN Committee against Torture will adopt its concluding observations on Ireland’s compliance with the UN Convention against Torture – these observations will form a list of essential improvements which the Irish State will have to undertake to tackle in the coming years.

2. Joint Shadow Report on the UN CAT

The Joint Shadow Report to the First Periodic Review of Ireland under the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is designed to ensure that the UN Committee Against Torture does not rely solely on the Government’s account of how it is meeting the terms of an international human rights instrument, but has full access to the observations, claims and concerns of human rights defenders and other groups independent of Government.

Key issues detailed in the Joint Shadow Report include: the lack of independent oversight over investigations into deaths in custody; inhumane and degrading treatment in Irish prisons; policing, police detention and public order; non refoulement, deportation and extraordinary rendition; and rehabilitation services for victims of torture.

The Joint Shadow Report will be available for download from 11am on Fri 20th May, 2011 on www.iprt.ie and www.iccl.ie

3. Irish Council for Civil Liberties | www.iccl.ie 

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is Ireland’s leading independent human rights watchdog, which monitors, educates and campaigns in order to secure full enjoyment of human rights for everyone.

4. Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) | www.iprt.ie 

IPRT is Ireland's leading non-governmental organisation campaigning for the rights of everyone in prison and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy, with prison as a last resort.

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