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Human rights are central to Ireland’s foreign policy. We champion the vital role of the United Nations in the promotion and protection of human rights.

Our membership of the Human Rights Council gives us a prominent platform for human rights advocacy for the period 2013 – 2015.

We regard the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as crucial to the functioning of the United Nations – and we are in the top ten of financial contributors to the Office on a per capita basis.

In 2014, we have actively engaged in strengthening the UN’s ability to monitor and encourage national implementation of human rights obligations. We played a prominent role, including with civil society and more broadly across the UN, in lengthy negotiations which succeeded in reinforcing the system of UN human rights treaty bodies which monitor implementation by states of a variety of human rights obligations.

We have also contributed actively to the work of the Commission on the Status of Women, which meets annually in March and brings together all member states along with a large civil society presence. The focus of this year’s meeting was on challenges and achievements in implementing the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls. The conclusions reached emphasised that women's empowerment and human rights are instrumental to achieving development goals.

Ireland negotiated on behalf of the EU on a sensitive resolution relating to women, the girl child and HIV / AIDS. We also hosted several events at the UN on individual aspects of the Commission’s work.