UN Committee Identifies Priority Matters for State Action

Commission welcomes UN Human Rights Committee’s Concluding Observations on Ireland’s Human Rights Record

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission welcomes the Concluding Observations issued by the UN Human Rights Committee today, which sets out urgent actions for Ireland’s commitments to human rights issues, as set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Today’s observations were published following the Irish Government’s formal examination, which took place in Geneva on 4th and 5th July 2022. The UN Committee sought the views of the Commission as the independent national human rights institution, on the State’s record in protecting and promoting human rights.

While welcoming some of the State’s adoption of legislative measures, the Committee regrets that the State has not incorporated the Covenant into domestic law, and that it has no intention to do so.

The UN document sets out key priorities that the State needs to address.

These include:


  • Non-Discrimination, Hate Speech and Hate Crime: The UN calls on Ireland to develop and implement a system of ethnic equality monitoring throughout the public sector in line with international standards; ensure adequate training to An Garda Síochána in order to sensitise them to the need for racial profiling; and monitor the efficacy of racial profiling by collecting data on the use of stop-and-search powers.


  • Accountability for Past Human Rights Violations: The Committee recommends that the State take a survivor-centred and trauma-informed approach to investigating all allegations of abuse; to remove the requirement to sign a legal waiver against further legal recourse in order to receive compensation; and that the State prosecute suspected perpetrators, including in cases of symphysiotomy, and if convicted, punish them with penalties commensurate to the gravity of the offences.


  • Gender Equality and Violence Against Women: The Committee focusses on the need for the State to implement the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality; it highlights its very real concerns on the rise in violence against women during the pandemic; and the hardship faced by migrant women and women from Traveller and Roma communities to access services and protections.


  • On Abortion and Sexual and Reproductive Rights: While welcoming the repeal of the 8th Amendment, the UN calls on the State to consider taking steps to remove criminal sanctions to medical service providers who assist people who need abortions; and to implement the necessary measures to guarantee equal access to abortion for all, nationwide, including the provision of ‘safe access zones’,


  • On Discrimination: The Committee notes the persistent discrimination suffered by women, persons of African descent, Travellers and Roma community, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, especially in the areas of education, health care and employment. The Committee recommends that the State guarantees a swift and full implementation of the National Action Plan Against Racism.


  • On Coercive Measures in Psychiatric Institutions: The UN recommends that the State commences a prompt and full reform of legislation concerning capacity and psychosocial disabilities in line with international human rights best practice; and that community based or social-care services are offered to persons with psychosocial or mental disabilities to provide less constrictive alternatives.


  • On Refugees and Asylum Seekers: The Committee asks that the State significantly reduces the processing times for international protection (IP) applicants; establishes a robust system of vulnerability assessments; and takes all necessary measures to quickly implement the new model of accommodation and supports for IP applicants, in line with international best standards.


  • On Freedom of Religion: The Committee reiterates its recommendations that the State amend the Constitution where it requires religious oaths to take up senior public office positions, and that it takes appropriate measures to provide secular education through the establishment of non-denominational schools.


  • On Human Trafficking: The Committee recommends that the State swiftly implement the new National Referral System for victims and redoubles its efforts to identify victims of trafficking.


Chief Commissioner Sinéad Gibney said:

“The UN Human Rights Committee is very clear on what needs to be done by Ireland to meet its civil and political rights obligations. Disappointingly, many of the areas that the UN identifies as needing action have been repeatedly highlighted by us in submissions to both the State and  ICCPR, yet, while progress has been made in some areas, much needs to be done urgently by the State to fulfil many of its human rights obligations under the Covenant.”

 “In line with our statutory functions, we will continue to advocate for the State’s full adoption of the UN’s recommendations in order to comply with these laws, and also to monitor and report on the State’s progress.”




Notes to Editors:

The UN Committee’s Full Concluding Observations are available to download at: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/IRL/CCPR_C_IRL_CO_5_49292_E.pdf


IHREC’s Submission to the Human Rights Committee on Ireland’s 5th Periodic Report can be accessed at https://www.ihrec.ie/documents/ireland-and-the-international-covenant-on-civil-and-political-rights/


For further information, please contact:

Carol Hunt

Tel: 01 859 2656.


Follow us on twitter @_IHREC


Notes to editor:

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission 

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

 The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.