DFA NGO Forum on Human Rights
19th Annual Civil Society Forum
Protecting Human Rights in Conflict and the role of the UN Security Council
The 19th annual Department of Foreign Affairs Civil Society Forum took place on Wednesday, 17 February 2021. The Forum focussed on the theme of “Protecting Human Rights in Conflict and the role of the UN Security Council”
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney TD, opened the Forum. The keynote address, on “the role of the UN in protecting human rights in conflict”, was delivered by Ms. Ilze Brands Kehris, UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights and Head of the UN Human Rights Office in New York.
The first panel, moderated by DFA Political Director, Sonja Hyland, explored” the Security Council’s role in protection and prevention”. The panellists were:
- Mr. Richard Gowan, UN Director, International Crisis Group;
- Ambassador Günter Sautter, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations in New York;
- Ms. Sherine Tadros, Deputy Director of Advocacy and Head of New York (UN) Office, Amnesty International.
The second panel, moderated by Ambassador Michael Gaffey, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN, Geneva, explored the theme of “Protecting human rights in situations of conflict”. The panellists were:
- Prof. Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism;
- Lieutenant Colonel Timothy O’Brien, Executive Officer of the Directorate of Operations and Plans in Defence Forces Headquarters;
- Ms. Suzanne Keatinge, CEO, Dóchas.
18th Annual Civil Society Forum
Beijing+25: Taking Stock of Progress on Gender Equality
The 18th annual Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Civil Society Forum took place on Friday 17th January 2020. The Forum focussed on the theme of “Beijing+25: Taking Stock of Progress on Gender Equality".
Eamon Gilmore, European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, gave the keynote address at the Forum.
The First Panel explored “The Road to the Beijing Declaration; A look Back at the Fourth UN World Conference on Women”. Moderated by Thelma Doran, Former Ambassador to China, the panellists were:
- Avril Doyle, Former Minister of State, Dept. of the Taoiseach, TD, Senator, MEP
- Mary Van Lieshout, Deputy CEO and Director of External Affairs, Goal
- Lorna Siggins, Journalist, Author
The theme of the second panel was: “25 Years On From Beijing, What are the Achievements in the Fight for the Empowerment of Women and Girls, and What Challenges”. Moderated by Ambassador Michael Gaffey, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN, Geneva, the panellists were:
- Orla O'Connor, Director of National Women's Council of Ireland
- Salome Mbugua, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commissioner, Founder and Former CEO AkiDwA, The Migrant Women’s Network
- Allison Morris, Security Correspondent, The Irish News
The third panel, moderated by Sarah Keane, considered: “Looking to Beijing+50, How to Accelerate Implementation of the Platform for Action and the Realization of Gender Equality?” The panellists were:
- Valery Molay, Ireland’s United Nations Youth Delegate, 2019/2020
- Ollie Bell, Trans activist, Board member of Transgender Equality Network Ireland
- Sophie Healy-Thow, Activist and Student, Lead Group Member @SUN Movement
Human Rights Council
Ireland was elected to the UN Human Rights Council for the first time in November 2012.