Members of the Abortion Rights Campaign are in Geneva today, attending Ireland’s examination by the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHR Committee). Representatives of the State will also be there, responding to, and likely defending the Irish State along a number of Human Rights lines. ARC will deliver a joint statement to the Human Rights Committee on the disappointing and inadequate response of the Irish state on the issue of access to abortion in Ireland. The Irish Family Planning Association, Doctors for Choice, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and a number of other groups have all made reference to the need for expanded access in their respective submissions.
Our submission to the UN Human Rights Committee is significant as it recognises the ways in which successive governments have hidden behind the 8th Amendment and used it to absolve themselves of the responsibility they have to those who urgently need broader access to abortion in Ireland. The current Government has said that it will not re-examine abortion in its lifetime, and have added that no further change to the law can be made while the 8th Amendment remains. The Government cannot now simply wash their hands of further responsibility and “wait” for constitutional reform. Not when it is within their power to call for a referendum to repeal. We will also address the wholly unnecessary criminalisation of abortion in Ireland.
These processes allow us in Ireland to demonstrate to a higher authority – the UN, the ways in which our State and its current Government have failed those they purport to represent. They have abdicated their responsibility – to provide for the health and rights of the people in Ireland. We know that the Government has a history of avoiding its duty to care for all the people of Ireland, so we look forward to a discussion on how the state plans to remove the discriminatory barriers which currently violate our rights and dignities.
On Monday July 14th from 1:15 to 5pm ARC will join the live streaming of the ICCPR examination at the Green Room where a wide variety of civil society organisations that have provided expert evidence to the UN Human Rights Committee will be present, and the event will be a “media hub” for commentators and journalists.
You can read ARC’s submission on the United Nations’ website.