Irish Penal Reform Trust

IPRT presentation to Universal Periodic Review (UPR) pre-session

7th October 2021

[Photo: IPRT Executive Director, Fíona Ní Chinnéide, making a statement at the pre-session.]

IPRT was one of the civil society organisations chosen to make a statement at the pre-session meeting of Ireland’s UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 7th October 2021. We were represented at the pre-session by Fíona Ní Chinnéide (Executive Director).

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) provides for the review of the human rights practices of all UN Member States. The UPR is a State-driven process, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. It is conducted once every four years. The Irish State will be under review in November 2021.

At the pre-session, selected Irish human rights organisations petitioned recommending States to make recommendations to Ireland on its human rights performance. The IPRT statement at the pre-session focused on the protection and promotion of human rights in Irish prisons.

IPRT asked recommending States to recommend that Ireland publishes the Inspection of Places of Detention Bill before end December 2021, ratify the OPCAT, and establish a National Preventive Mechanism no later than July 2022. IPRT also asked recommending States to recommend that the powers of the Inspector of Prisons be strengthened, including the power to publish reports directly.

We took the opportunity to requested that recommending States give due attention to the overdue commitments to introduce a new prisoner complaints mechanism by recommending that Ireland introduce the new internal prisoner complaints mechanism before the end of 2021, with prisoners having access to the Ombudsman by no later than July 2022.

Other areas IPRT made recommendations on in its statement at the pre-session include the publication of data on the lengths of time prisoners are held in solitary confinement, legislating for the maximum number of days of solitary confinement permitted, and raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years of age. In a short period of additional allocated time, IPRT also drew attention to our concerns at the human rights impact of pandemic restrictions on prisoners, including reduced access to basics like access to showers, fresh air and exercise.
 

The IPRT statement made at the pre-session is now available on the UPR website.

Read IPRT’s full UPR submission, submitted in March 2021, here.

IPRT also made a similar submission to the Consultation on the State Report for the UN Universal Periodic Review undertaken by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. IPRT has also endorsed the Universal Periodic Review Submission by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

October 2021
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Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.

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