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Saturday 16 December 2017

Poor human rights training for civil servants – new report

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Serious gaps exist in the level of human rights training provided to civil and public servants, a new report has found.

The Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has developed a pilot education scheme but claimed there was no systematic training provided by the state.

The IHRC called for human rights education to be a key component for staff under planned public sector reforms.

Dr Maurice Manning, IHRC president, said the briefings could not only reduce potential claims faced by the state but enhance the quality of services provided.

"In this era of public sector reform there is a great opportunity to strengthen the delivery of quality public services by embedding human rights training in the civil and public service," Manning said.

"Building human rights into the delivery of public policy and services not only has the potential to reduce legal risk, promote economies and help ensure quality service provision, but also to strengthen the workplace environment within the civil and public service."

The IHRC has developed a pilot programme for the civil and public service which has so far provided training to 400 civil and public servants.

A report by the IHRC found human rights training is most evident in the education sector, but serious gaps existed in the public sector.

But the 240-page Human Rights Education in Ireland - An Overview found there was a willingness to boost human rights training across all sectors.

The body called for a national action plan to ensure training is provided across all sectors, including schools, universities, the legal profession and the public sector.

Eamonn Mac Aodha, IHRC chief executive, said there was a high level of co-operation between the IHRC and areas of the civil and public service in developing human rights education.

"Participation in such training has the potential to strengthen the development and delivery of quality public policies and services," Mac Aodha said.

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