In July 2014, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee conducted its fourth periodic review of Ireland.
The Human Rights Committee is a body of eighteen human rights experts that monitors state parties’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Members are elected by state parties.
Prior to the review, the IFPA sent a submission to the Committee highlighting the State’s failure to respond to previous Committee calls to bring Ireland's abortion laws into compliance with the ICCPR and how the criminalisation of abortion violates the human rights of women and girls, particularly those already disadvantaged.
The IFPA travelled to Geneva for the review and delivered a joint oral statement to the Committee along with the Abortion Rights Campaign, Centre for Reproductive Rights, Doctors for Choice, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Women's Human Rights Alliance, Lawyers for Choice, Termination for Medical Reasons and Ipas. The statement highlighted the impact of the unavailability of abortion services in Ireland and how the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 does not bring the State into compliance with its human rights obligations.
The Irish Delegation was led by Minister for Justice and Equality Ms Frances Fitzgerald TD. During the review, a number of Committee members were severely critical of Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws.
In its Concluding Observations, the Committee expressed stauch criticism at the discriminatory impact of Ireland's abortion laws and called on the State to reform these laws through constitutional and legislative means.
Watch highlights from the review below.