Ireland: Continue to demonstrate strong international leadership on the protection of human rights defenders

Ireland should continue to make UPR recommendations and support UN resolutions on the protection of civil society space, the prevention of reprisals and the protection of defenders, says ISHR in advance of Ireland’s UPR in April 2016.

ISHR launched today a major briefing paper on the situation of human rights defenders in Ireland to inform the upcoming review of Ireland at the 25th session of the Universal Periodic Review.

The briefing paper highlights the sound commitment Ireland has demonstrated at the national level to ensuring a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders, including by being open to improving its legal framework through reforms. The paper calls on Ireland to strengthen this commitment by enacting national legislation which enshrines the right to access and communicate with international human rights bodies and prohibits any form of intimidation or reprisal in association with such communication.

The paper congratulates Ireland on its move to establish a national plan on business and human rights (NAP). 

‘Ireland should adopt and implement recommendations made in ISHR’s submission on Ireland’s NAP, including consulting closely with defenders in the development of the NAP and ensuring it contains specific measures supporting and protecting the vital work of defenders in promoting corporate respect for human rights and corporate accountability for violations’, said ISHR’s Tess McEvoy.

The briefing paper serves as a submission to the Universal Periodic Review and is intended to assist States and other stakeholders to formulate questions and recommendations regarding the protection of human rights defenders during the Universal Periodic Review.

In this respect, the briefing paper details key recommendations ISHR considers should be made to the Irish Government, including to:  

  • Demonstrate international leadership by leading the drafting and negotiation of Human Rights Council resolutions and joint statements in respect of country situations where human rights defenders and other civil society actors are seriously restricted or at risk.
  • Continue and strengthen support, including financial and diplomatic support, to a diverse range of national, regional and international NGOs providing advice, protection and support to HRDs.
  • Continue to ensure that embassy staff implement the Guidelines for Irish Embassies and Missions for the protection of HRDs in a proactive, consistent and principled manner.
  • Ensure that the IHREC complies with the Paris Principles, including in respect of the adequacy of its resourcing and its financial independence.

For further information about the briefing paper or for any assistance or advice in the formulation of recommendations, please contact ISHR's Tess McEvoy, [email protected].