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Minister McHugh convenes Inter-Departmental discussions on Human Rights


Minister McHugh convenes Inter-Departmental discussions on Human Rights


Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Joe McHugh, T.D., today chaired the first meeting of 2017 of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Human Rights.

Speaking after the meeting, Minister McHugh said:

I was delighted to meet with members of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Human Rights today and to be updated on some positive developments since our last meeting in September. 

“I was particularly encouraged to hear of progress towards ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities following the publication of the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill just before Christmas. I underlined the importance of delivering on our commitment to ratify this key Convention and I am confident from what I heard today that the relevant Departments are determined to make this happen as soon as possible.

“I was also pleased to hear that the outstanding periodic reports in relation to Ireland’s obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination will be finalised following a consultation process with civil society before the summer.

“This Committee provides an excellent framework for cross-Departmental cooperation which is key to the development and delivery of Ireland’s foreign policy priorities on human rights as set out in The Global Island.”

At today’s meeting, Minister McHugh underlined the centrality of human rights to every aspect of the Government’s work at home and abroad.  The Minister availed of the opportunity to brief on the finalisation of Ireland’s first National Plan on Business and Human Rights which will facilitate the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The Committee discussed the status of reports from Ireland required under United Nations and Council of Europe treaty obligations.  Committee members also provided updates on Ireland’s upcoming review under the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and Ireland’s term as a first-time member of the Commission on the Status of Women from 2017 to 2021.

The establishment of the Inter-Departmental Committee is one of the outcomes of the “The Global Island: Ireland’s Foreign Policy for a Changing World”, which was launched in January 2015. The objective of the Committee is to improve the coherence of the promotion and protection of human rights in Ireland’s Foreign Policy. It is also mandated with assisting progress towards ratification by Ireland of key international human rights treaties and reporting to the United Nations and Council of Europe human rights monitoring bodies.


Press Office

25 January 2017