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Ireland

    September 25, 2015

    Amnesty International Ireland joined with the Abortion Rights Campaign fourth annual March for Choice in Dublin today, to highlight the fact that criminalising women for having abortions is an abuse of their human rights.

    Amnesty International’s global My Body My Rights campaign has Ireland as a focus, because we have one of the most restrictive abortion regimes in the world. Not only are women and girls denied their human right to access safe and legal abortions, at a minimum where they are pregnant as a result of rape or incest, their heath is at risk or there is a fatal or severe foetal impairment.  Irish law also criminalises any woman or girl - and her healthcare provider - if they have an abortion outside of the very limited scope of the 2013 Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act.

    Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland said:

    August 06, 2015

    Amnesty International Ireland 

    Ireland must repeal the 8th amendment – Amnesty International global delegates call for change

    Today in Dublin, Amnesty International activists from around the world staged a protest against Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws outside the Department of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister). Delegates brought 80 suitcases to signify the number of Irish women and girls who travel abroad each and every week to access a safe and legal abortion.

    Their reasons for seeking an abortion vary; some are survivors of rape, some are carrying a foetus with a severe or fatal impairment, some have serious health conditions, some make the decision for economic or other reasons. But all of them are left with no option other than to travel to another jurisdiction.

    Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm O’Gorman said: “Every year 4,000 Irish women and girls travel abroad for an abortion. Since 1971, at least 177,000 women and girls have had to leave Ireland to seek an abortion. The true figure may in fact be higher but this is a staggering number.

    July 08, 2015

    Released 10.30 GMT (11.30 BST) 08 July 2015 

    The Irish government is under growing pressure to reform its anti-abortion law, one of the most restrictive in the world, Amnesty International said today as it published results of an opinion poll on public attitudes to abortion in Ireland.

    The poll, carried out for Amnesty International by RED C Research and Marketing, shows that the majority of people in Ireland are not aware that abortion is a criminal offence. The vast majority disagree with the current criminal sanctions for women who have abortions, or doctors who provide abortions.  

    Asked whether the Irish government should decriminalize abortion, 67% agreed and 25% disagreed. 81% are in favour of significantly widening the grounds for access to legal abortions in Ireland.

    June 22, 2015

    Amnesty International Ireland Release

    The Government must accept that the 1983 Eighth Amendment of Ireland's Constitution is causing serious human rights violations, Amnesty International said today following the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’ criticism of the state’s law on abortion.

    In its review of Ireland’s compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, the UN Committee was critical of Ireland's "highly restrictive abortion law and strict interpretation thereof" and set out a pathway for reform.

    Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said:

    “The UN is clear on what international law says about Ireland – its laws on abortion are violating the human rights of women and girls.

    June 09, 2015

    Pregnant women and girls risk putting their health and lives in danger if they remain in Ireland, Amnesty International said today in a report on the country’s abortion law.

    The report  She is not a criminal: The Impact of Ireland’s abortion law documents shocking cases of Irish authorities denying women and girls necessary healthcare in order to prioritize the life of the foetus – which is protected by an amendment to Ireland’s constitution added in 1983.

    May 21, 2015

    Amnesty International Ireland Release

    In less than 24 hours, Ireland will go to the polls in a referendum that is truly historic, the first time any nation has asked its people to vote ‘Yes’ and end discrimination against LGBTI people in its civil marriage laws. If passed, Ireland will become the first country anywhere in the world to guarantee its people the equal constitutional right to marry the person they love, regardless of their sexual orientation, following a popular vote.

    Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland said:

    “Love does not discriminate, and neither should our laws. If a state decides to recognise, protect and value loving, intimate, committed relationships in its laws, it should not deny this recognition to some just because of their sexual orientation. We call on the people of Ireland to bring in a new era of equality in civil marriage. It is their decision now.

    February 08, 2015

    Amnesty International Ireland Release  -  Irish Government can no longer expect ‘due process’ 

    Ibrahim Halawa, the Irish 19 year old, who is in prison in Egypt for 18 months without trial on trumped up charges, has seen his trial postponed again to 29 March according to his family.

    This is the fourth postponement of the trial of Ibrahim Halawa and 493 others since he was arrested on 17 August 2013 while hiding from gunfire in Al Fath mosque in Cairo.

    “This latest episode is devastating for Ibrahim’s family. He has now spent 541 days in pre-trial detention simply for protesting peacefully. By any international standard of justice, this is absolutely unacceptable,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.

    Amnesty International has called yet again on the Egyptian authorities to release Ibrahim immediately and unconditionally with all charges against him dropped as is a prisoner of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly.

    January 09, 2015

    The Irish government’s decision not to include the treatment of women and girls in Magdalene Laundries in the proposed scope of an inquiry announced today into the Mother and Baby Homes is a missed opportunity that will leave gaping holes in the narrative of historical abuses, Amnesty International said.

    The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes is an important step towards redressing past abuses in these institutions. But the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has today confirmed that the government has no further plans to investigate abuses at the Magdalene Laundries, which it asserts were comprehensively covered in the 2013 report of a government Inter-Departmental Committee (the McAleese Report).

    “The proposed terms of reference for the Commission are a missed opportunity to finally address Ireland's responsibility to provide justice and truth to women and girls placed in Magdalene Laundries. Many of those women and girls came from those Mother and Baby homes,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.

    December 19, 2014

    Ireland must allow transgender people to have their gender legally recognized in a quick, transparent and accessible manner, Amnesty International said after the country’s Gender Recognition Bill was published today.

    The organization called on the Irish authorities to remove restrictions on gender recognition for married transgender people and minors, and to ensure that transgender people can obtain legal gender recognition without having to provide medical certification.

    “This is a missed opportunity to enshrine the rights of all transgender people in Irish law. This bill will require substantial changes if it is to tackle the serious issue of discrimination against transgender people,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Acting Europe and Central Asia Director.

    “Rather than making it as easy as possible for all transgender people to obtain legal recognition of their identity, there are several groups that will be short-changed by the bill – in particular those who are married or in civil partnerships, minors, and those who do not wish to undergo medical treatment.”

    December 02, 2014

    The Irish Government’s request to reopen the landmark 1978 European Court of Human Rights judgment in Ireland v UK is a triumph of justice, after more than 40 years of waiting, said Amnesty International today. It follows revelations in a television program, The Torture Files, broadcast on an Irish national channel in June that the UK withheld vital information from the European Court at the time.

    In 1978 the European Court ruled that the treatment of 14 so-called ‘hooded men’, who were interned in Northern Ireland in 1971, constituted inhuman and degrading treatment but not torture.  Amnesty International – and clearly Ireland – now considers that the withheld evidence could possibly have led to a finding that the men were tortured.

    Today the Irish High Court was to have heard the men’s application seeking to compel the Irish Government to decide on requesting the European Court to reopen the 1978 judgement. However, Counsel for the state told the Court the Government had already decided to seek a reopening of Ireland v UK.  

    September 19, 2014

    Ireland’s latest guidelines on abortion are mere window-dressing that will confuse health professionals and endanger women’s lives and rights, said Amnesty International.

    “The only thing these guidelines really clarify is the incredibly restrictive and unworkable nature of the existing law,” said Elisa Slattery, sexual and reproductive rights researcher at Amnesty International.

    “Drawing up burdensome guidelines to implement a highly restrictive law that is out of kilter with international human rights standards is an exercise in futility. Issuing guidelines to poor legislation isn’t enough; we need a completely different approach.”

    The guidelines issued today by the Department of Health are intended to ensure that a pregnant woman or girl can access a lawful abortion when there is a “real and substantial risk” to her life.

    This is the only exception permitted under the Irish law known as Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act 2013 (the Act).  

    July 24, 2014

    The Irish authorities must take urgent action to bring the country’s flawed abortion laws in line with its international human rights obligations, Amnesty International said following the UN Human Rights Committee’s strongly worded criticism of the Ireland’s stance on abortion.

    The UN Committee, which monitors states’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, found today that Irish abortion laws violate human rights and are in serious breach of the country’s international obligations.

    It stated its concern that terminating a pregnancy is criminalized in most circumstances in the country, carrying a prison sentence of up to 14 years. Women and girls who, for example, have been raped, who are carrying a non-viable pregnancy or whose health is at risk, are forced to either carry the pregnancy to term or travel outside the country to obtain abortions.

    June 19, 2014

    The Irish government’s establishment of an independent Commission of Investigation into ‘mother and baby homes’ must result in an effective and comprehensive investigation that is fully compliant with Ireland’s human rights obligations, Amnesty International said today in a letter to Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny.

    “Ireland’s obligation to ensure truth, justice and reparations for victims of past human rights abuses must be central to the work of this pending Commission of Investigation,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    “The commission must be mandated to investigate the causes of high infant mortality rates at ‘mother and baby’ homes around the country, as well as other reported concerns including alleged illegal adoption practices, vaccine trials conducted on children without consent, forced labour, and that women were denied adequate medical care.

    “Confronting, acknowledging and dealing with this legacy of past human rights abuses are essential if Ireland is to move forward as a rights-respecting society.”

    June 05, 2014
    Photo: The disturbing "mass grave" allegations must be met with a wider response about state responsibility in cases of systematic child abuse.© Demotix

    Disturbing revelations about an unmarked “mass grave” of up to 800 babies and children found in Tuam, a town in the west of Ireland, must prompt urgent answers from the Irish Government about the wider issue of past child abuse in state-run and sponsored institutions, said Amnesty International today.

    “This shocking case needs immediate attention and answers from the Irish Government. A thorough investigation must be carried out into how these children died and if ill-treatment, neglect or other human rights abuses factored into their deaths. We also need to know why these children were not afforded the respect of a proper and dignified burial,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Program Director at Amnesty International.

    June 05, 2014

    Allegations aired last night in a documentary by Irish state broadcaster RTÉ that the UK Government sanctioned the use of torture in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, and failed to disclose relevant evidence to the European Court of Human Rights, underline the failure to deliver a comprehensive mechanism to deal with the past, said Amnesty International.

    In 1971, Ireland took the first inter-state case to come before the European Court on Human Rights, alleging Britain had breached the European Convention on Human Rights. The use of torture during internment was central to that case which became known as the “hooded men” case.

    The documentary, The Torture Files, was based on investigations carried out by Northern Irish human rights NGO the Pat Finucane Centre and RTÉ. It further alleges that the UK Government did not disclose relevant evidence to the European Court of Human Rights in its defence of the case.

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