Home > Conferences and Events > Human Rights Cuts Damage Our Standing Abroad

Human Rights Cuts Damage Our Standing Abroad

The Irish Times has this report of a speech by Colm Ó Cinnéide at the Equality and Rights Alliance ‘Fairer Ireland’ conference, which took place yesterday. We have blogged about the issue herehere and here and highlighted important new research from the ERA here.

Ó Cinnéide spoke first about the international perception of this government’s reluctance to fund the national human rights watchdogs.

Ireland’s equality and human rights institutions had previously been acclaimed throughout the EU as best practice models. “At conference after conference across Europe, it was emphasised to me and to others about – from an external perspective – how strong the institutional architecture was in Ireland and how impressive the representatives of both the Equality Authority and the Human Rights Commission were throughout the 2000s,” he said…There has been, frankly, the perception . . . of a fall from grace from European best practice models to a set of circumstances that gives rise to questions…”

Ó Cinnéide also emphasised the consequences of Ireland’s actions for the promotion of human rights abroad:

There are concerns when a country in good international standing like Ireland carries out sweeping budget cuts to its equality and human rights institutions because there are issues of precedence… When countries with perceived good records do something, then it means that countries who are perceived to have not such good records have a precedent. He said Pakistan had recently cited Ireland’s blasphemy law as an example of best practice, at a UN gathering…Ireland has a history of leadership in international institutions in the UN and the Council of Europe on equality and human rights matters,” he said. “But then you have facts on the ground and you have government ministers in other countries saying ‘Well, is there a tension here between the rhetoric and the delivery?’”


  1. pmcauliffe
    November 25, 2009 at 10:30 am

    What Colm O Cinnéide said is essentially unobjectionable. That said, of all the arguments to be made in favour of continuing our funding of the Equality Authority and the Human Rights Commission, Ireland’s international perception in Geneva is among the least relevant to the average voter on the street or, more crucially, the average TD. The battle is being lost because the EA and HRC are failing to show where the cuts in their funding actually translate into diminished opportunities for people or deprivations of rights. It needs to do more. At present, they are showing the survival instinct of a particularly hebetudinous lemming

  2. November 25, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    I absolutely agree. Is this any closer to what we need http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jul/24/open-left-ideas?

  3. pmcauliffe
    November 25, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Very muhch so. I must read that Ralph Miliband book – it’s like his sons have been striving for the past decade to prove his thesis right

  4. Tomboktu
  1. November 25, 2009 at 6:53 pm
  2. January 29, 2010 at 3:42 pm

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