Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission calls for Human Rights and Equality compliant culture in our Health Service

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“the Commission”) has today welcomed the State’s formal apology to women and their families impacted by the cervical smear controversy, enacted through a Dáil statement made by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D.

The Taoiseach acknowledged the litany of failures and disrespectful treatment of women and their loved ones emphasising the importance of accountability and providing access to justice for the women.

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“The lack of respect and dignity shown to the many women affected by the cervical cancer screening scandal reflects the crucial gaps in Ireland’s compliance with international obligations highlighted most recently to the State by the United Nations Expert Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

“The State must now seek to promote a culture of respect for women by promoting human rights and equality of treatment, including in our health services.

“The Government must make further efforts to ensure public bodies that provide access to healthcare adhere to their full legal obligations and proactively eliminate discrimination, promote equality and protect human rights of the persons to whom they provide a service. This is clearly set out in law though the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty.

“The Commission commends the incredible advocacy by the women affected and their families, who pursued today’s recognition by An Taoiseach of the failure by the State to provide for the women’s right to the highest attainable standard of health.”

 

 ENDS/

 

For further information, please contact:

Karen Joynt, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
01 8589601 / 085 1746883
kjoynt@ihrec.ie
Visit our website www.ihrec.ie or 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.

Public Sector Human Rights and Equality Duty

All public bodies in Ireland have responsibility to promote equality, prevent discrimination and protect the human rights of their employees, customers, service users and everyone affected by their policies and plans. This is a legal obligation, called the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty, and it originated in Section 42 of the Commission’s founding legislation, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Act 2014.

 

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