Issue 22 - November 2011(2)

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Human rights record

Katherine Zappone (ind, Taoiseach nominee) demanded that the government list its voluntary commitments to human rights.  She was off to Geneva to observe the United Nations review of Ireland’s human rights record and as part of this process governments were expected to make voluntary commitments to improve human rights.  There was still no word of the Irish government’s commitments (Seanad Eireann, 4th October 2011, 491, 503).  She cited a report on racism in Ireland being released today by the Immigrant Council of Ireland and quoted its chief executive, Denise Charleton, that racism was more prevalent in Ireland than in many countries in which they had lived. The government’s action plan on racism was completed in 2008 but the only sequel was a bland report that its strategies would be continued.  She asked the minister to identify Ireland’s commitment or there would be ‘live steam’ from the proceedings.  Replying, Maurice Cummins (FG, labour) said he would raise the matter with the Minister for Justice & Equality, he would try get clarity on the point and he considered it worthwhile to have a debate on these issues when the minister returned.