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U.S. Statement at the Universal Periodic Review of Ireland
May 11, 2016

UPR 25th Session, Geneva, May 11, 2016

As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper,
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

The United States welcomes the Irish delegation to the UPR Working Group.

The United States commends Ireland for its leadership in co-facilitating the September United Nations high-level event on refugees and migration, and for working to include language on the importance of protecting and promoting human rights in the outcome document of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

We highlight our concerns that members of the Traveller and Roma communities experience significant discrimination in education, accommodation, health, and employment compared to the general population, and that publicly-funded schools under religious patronage are permitted by the state to give preference in admissions on the basis of religion.

In addition, we are troubled by negative developments in women’s reproductive health, including the imposition of criminal penalties on women who procure an abortion and those who assist them in procuring an abortion, in most circumstances.

Bearing in mind these concerns, we recommend that Ireland:

  1. Conduct and finalize a timely review of the request for recognition of the Travellers as an ethnic group.
  2. Review and amend laws, as appropriate, to ensure that publicly-funded schools provide equal access to education for all, irrespective of one’s faith or religious affiliation.
  3. Identify and address gaps in reproductive health legislation to ensure the protection of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.