Today is the World Day of Peace, a Catholic celebration. Each year it is traditional for the Taoiseach to issue a statement on the day in response to the annual statement issued by the Pope. Frostiness or not in the relations between Ireland and the Vatican, Enda Kenny issued a statement this morning and indeed attended mass in Haddington Road with other politicians to mark the occasion.
In his statement the Taoiseach announced that Ireland would be seeking election to the UN Human Rights Council.
Both within our own country, and in the wider world, Ireland is at the fore of those promoting peace, justice, security and development. This is a commitment and an engagement that we take with the utmost seriousness that this why, this year, for the first time, Ireland is seeking election to the United Nations Human Rights Council. If elected, Ireland would support clear and strong action by the Council in addressing human rights violations and in promoting universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
is an inter-governmental body within the UN system made up of 47 States responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. The Council was created by the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 with the main purpose of addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
I assume before Ireland applies for election that
- the Mental Capacity Bill will be debated and enacted?
- The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities will be ratified by the government.
- Residential facilities for people with disabilities will be monitored and inspected.
- All prisoners will have in cell sanitation.
- Prisoners with mental health problems will be provided with appropriate treatment and facilities.
- The Government will truly strengthen and maintain the independence of the Equality and Human Rights infrastructure in the state.
- The Magdelene women will be cared for and apologised to.
- Travellers will be recognised as an ethnic minority.
Insert other areas where Ireland’s human rights record is poor and we fail to meet international conventions
Put simply we should attend to everything else which should be required of us before applying to join such an elite. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights assessed our record with regard to treaties and conventions last year and it and the Universal Periodic Review (draft report) show the concerns of the United Nations in many areas of human rights and legal protections.
Indeed the human rights record of many of the other members of the Human Rights Council is also far from perfect. But is it too much to hope that we could lead by example and prioritise attending to our human rights obligations? This could then be seen as ‘clear and strong’ action by the Government in ‘addressing human rights violations and in promoting universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.’
See what I did there? Austerity can not be an excuse for such diplomatic hypocrisy either.
Happy New Year.