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Items 2 and 3 – General Debate Statement by Ireland

20 June 2016

Ireland aligns itself with the statement delivered by the EU and adds the following.

Mr President

Ireland thanks the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the wide range of reports before the Council this session.

First we warmly welcome the report on practical recommendations for the creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society, based on good practices and lessons learned (A/HRC/32/20).

We agree with the views set out therein on the fact that civil society space can be seen as a ‘threshold’ issue. As explained in the report, restriction of the civil society space or threats and reprisals against civil society actors are early warning signs and can, over time, potentially even lead to instability or conflict. On the other hand and again as the report says, “if space exists for civil society to engage, there is a greater likelihood that all rights will be better protected”.

This is a positive and forward looking report which gives helpful guidance to States on the concrete steps which can be taken to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment. We urge all States to study the report closely and apply the best practices set out therein.

In a similar way, we appreciate the practical approach taken in the report on improving accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses (A/HRC/32/19).  We fully support the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and see the detailed analysis of the Accountability and Remedy Project as a valuable way to assist in implementation of the third Pillar.  We will study the report carefully, including in the context of the ongoing process of development of Ireland’s National Plan on Business and Human Rights.

We appreciate that the core group consisting of Argentina, Ghana, Russia and Norway have decided to take forward an initiative this session, based on the report and look forward to engaging constructively in that regard.

Thank you