As several newspapers have noted today, the UN Committee against Torture has released its Concluding Observations for Ireland (all documents are available here). This is the Committee’s response to Ireland’s first periodic report. Fiona detailed the core issues on which the Committee was expected to focus here. We hope to have fuller posts on some of these issues in due course, and of course, welcome guest commentary from others researching in relevant areas.
The Committee expressed concern at, and made recommendations for reform in respect of:
- the precarious financial position of human rights institutions including the IHRC (UNCERD expressed similar concerns in March).
- the state’s inadequate response to allegations of state co-operation with renditions through Shannon.
- apparent failures to afford due process to asylum applicants.
- the lack of adequate attention to the position of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers. (UNCERD also noted this gap and made recommendations in March).
- poor prison conditions including overcrowding, inadequate complaint and investigation mechanisms, poor responses to inter-prisoner violence, poor healthcare and the survival of ‘slopping out’. The Committee identified ‘slopping out’ as inhuman and degrading treatment.
- the inadequate training of police around the prohibiton of torture.
- the state’s failure to establish sustainable and wholly independent mechanisms for investigation of serious police misconduct.
- the state’s failure to follow the findings of the Ryan report with proper criminal investigations, prosecutions and redress for victims.
- the state’s failure to investigate the abuse of women in the Magdalene Laundries let alone pursue proper criminal investigations, prosecutions and redress for victims (see discussion from Maeve O’Rourke here).
- the continued detention of children in St. Patrick’s Institution and its exclusion from the remit of the Children’s Ombudsman.
- the failure to take adequate steps to tackle gender-based violence. As UNCERD did in March, it noted the need to make particular provision for abused women whose immigration status is precarious.
- the lack of definitional clarity around voluntary detention in mental health centres.
- the failure to legislate for the X case (in this respect the Committee is at one with the European Court of Human Rights and the CoE Commissioner for Human Rights)
- the failure to prohibit corporal punishment of children in the home.
- the lack of legislation prohibiting FGM.
The Committee also invited Ireland to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, 1990, the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006 and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 2006.