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Thursday 21 August 2014

Multiple social issues need attention

Sam Griffin

Published 16/07/2014 | 02:30

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THE State's failure to take accountability for a 'collection' of abuses, including the mother and baby home scandal, the Magdalene laundries, symphysiotomy procedures and child abuse has been slammed by the UN.

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The chair of the organisation's human rights committee, Nigel Rodley, said there was "quite a collection" of social issues that still need to be addressed by the State. He made the remarks in his concluding comments after two days of intense of scrutiny of Ireland's human right issues in Geneva.

"The issue that remains for the state party is what it is going to do about accountability," he told the committee.

He said the instances of abuse were "not disconnected from the institutional belief system" that has predominated and dominated and the state. On the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, he welcomed the recognition of the primary right to life of the woman, which he said "has to prevail over that of the unborn child".

But he added he was sorry that the legislation did not extend to the right to health of the woman.

"Life without quality of life is not something many of us have to choose between and to suggest that regardless of the health consequences of a pregnancy, a person may be doomed to continue it at the risk of criminal penalties, is difficult to understand.

"Even more so, arguably, for rape," he said.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), which led a delegation of NGOs in Geneva, said it "wholeheartedly endorsed the coruscating comments by Mr Rodley".

Irish Independent

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