Updated: 29/07/17 : 07:50:59
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Govt must support Repeal of 8th Amendment to meet human rights obligations, says ARC

In Geneva this week, United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT) again emphasised the incompatibility of Ireland's abortion ban with international human rights law and questioned the government's support to repeal the 8th Amendment, expressing concern at the lack of progress taken since Ireland’s last examination under the Committee in 2011.

Speaking yesterday Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) spokesperson Michali Hyams said, “In what is becoming a familiar scene, the Irish state must once again answer to a UN committee as to why there has been no progress in ensuring the human rights of women and girls in Ireland are vindicated.”

Ms Hyams said, “The Committee was troubled by the fact that the there has been no change in law in response to the cases of Amanda Mellet or Siobhan Whelan: “In both of these cases, women were forced to travel to access abortions and the State was found to have inflicted cruel and inhuman treatment, in violation of UNCAT.”

“In light of this, the Committee were eager to know whether the government was urging the Oireachtas to call for a referendum, and whether the government would be encouraging the Irish public to vote in favour of repeal.”

Ms Hyams noted, “The State today claimed that they had already begun to address these failings through the Citizens Assembly process and the subsequent formation of the Joint Oireachtas Committee (JOC). However, it is clear from the Committee’s comments that the JOC recommendation is not enough. In order for the government to discharge its obligations under UNCAT, they must ensure the wording of any referendum allows for a full repeal and facilitates the Oireachtas to legislate for real and realistic access to abortion, in line with international human rights law”.

Ms Hyams concluded, “Simply put, it is the government's responsibility to ensure a referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment passes, and that Ireland’s laws are brought into line with the rest of Europe. We can no longer allow barriers to access to remain in our constitution.”