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Item 3 General Debate

Item 2/3: thematic reports of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Statement of Ireland

10 March 2017 

Ireland aligns with the statement of the European Union and adds the following.

Mr President

Ireland thanks OHCHR for the reports submitted to the Council under this item.  The range and quality of these reports demonstrates again the depth of expertise which is to be found in the Office.

It is striking the degree to which the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development permeates many of these reports. This strengthens us in our view that the 2030 Agenda has the potential to be lens through which all parts of the system coalesce in order to finally and fully re-connect the three pillars of the United Nations. And in truth it would be near impossible for us to deliver on the ambitious pledges of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind and to reach those furthest behind first, without human rights at the heart of our actions.

We welcome the report on the realisation in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights (A/HRC/34/25).  The detailed analysis contained in that report on the converging nature of efforts towards the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals is instructive.  We appreciate its attempt to map out the manner in which “virtually all of the Goals correspond to the contents of key economic, social and cultural rights” and to identify the challenges and opportunities for a human rights based approach to the 2030 agenda.

We similarly welcome the OHCHR report on Mental Health and Human Rights (A/HRC/34/32). We commend Portugal and Brazil, the main sponsors of resolution 32/18, for having brought this question to the Council.  It is an under-studied and complex issue, where even definitions are not easily agreed.  We appreciate the broad approach taken, by including not only users of mental health services, persons with mental health conditions and persons with psychosocial disabilities, but also those who may face restrictions or barriers to participation on the basis of a perceived mental impairment.

Attention to the human rights aspects of mental health is overdue, particularly in light of the fact that 1 in 4 persons worldwide is estimated by the WHO to be affected by a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime. The analysis and recommendations in the report are far-reaching and challenging. While the report will require close examination, it is already clear that addressing and eliminating stigma and discrimination could be transformative not only for the persons concerned but for all of our societies.

We further welcome the report on the activities and programmes of the United Nations system contributing to the role of good governance in the promotion and protection of human rights (A/HRC/34/28). We agree with its analysis that human rights and good governance are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. We will study closely the policy and programmatic approaches set out in the report and urge other states to do likewise. Analysis of this kind will assist all stakeholders as we begin the process of implementing the 2030 Agenda. Ireland would welcome ongoing input on this topic from the international human rights mechanisms, including the Treaty Bodies, and encourages them to pay attention to it in their work.

Finally, we appreciate the report on the Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (A/HRC/34/17) and note with concern that the Fund has an average yearly shortfall of $ 3 million.  The current and complex realities of our world mean that redress and rehabilitation needs of victims of torture have never been greater. Ireland is proud to be a regular supporter of the Fund and encourages other States to consider making voluntary contributions to it.

Thank you