Thursday 21 September 2017

State told to help Magdalene survivors

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

SURVIVORS of Magdalene Laundries should be paid "comprehensive compensation" including unpaid wages, pensions and rehabilitation supports for forced labour, according to the Irish Human Rights Commission.

The IHRC said former Senator Martin McAleese's investigation into the institutions fell short as he did not draw any conclusions on the human rights obligations of the State.

Professor Siobhan Mullally, IHRC commissioner, said its follow-up report was filling a gap left by the McAleese inquiry.

She said the human rights of women and girls sent to laundries were not respected.

"The State acted wrongfully in failing to protect these women by not putting in place adequate mechanisms to prevent such violations, and by failing to respond to their allegations over a protracted period," she said.

The IHRC's follow-up report reviewed Mr McAleese's report and found breaches of human rights "in relation to equality, liberty, respect for private life, education, and to be free from forced or compulsory labour or servitude".

Prof Mullally said compensation must match the human rights violations and called for compensation to take account of lost wages, pensions and social welfare benefits.

Rehabilitation supports were also needed, including housing, education and health, she said.

Welcoming the report, advocacy group Justice for Magdalenes Research said that any redress fund must be advertised, independently monitored and have an appeals process.

Irish Independent

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