Kelly Statement on UN Human Rights Committee Finding

13 June 2017

Labour Party Spokesperson on Health, Alan Kelly TD, has said that the decision by the UN Committee on Human Rights in respect of Siobhan Whelan needs to be responded to in a timely way.

This is the second time in a year that Ireland has been found by the UN Human Rights Committee to have failed women because of the legal prohibitions on the provision of abortion services.

According to Deputy Kelly: 

“Defence of human rights has never been so important. Ireland has signed up to the UN and we have an absolute obligation to uphold its human rights laws. We have failed Siobhan Whelan who took this case to the UN, and the State has failed many more women like her.

“In the first instance, the Government must put its hand up and admit that we have failed women by the absence of a comprehensive abortion law. Compensation, and offering Ms Whelan the support she deserves is paramount within the coming weeks.

“However, more importantly, if we are to adhere to our human rights obligations, it is now essential that there is a timeline and a clear pathway for delivering abortion reform that will ensure that we meet our human rights obligations.

“It is noteworthy that Ireland hosted the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights in recent days. During his visit, he reiterated the importance of upholding, investing in and protecting human rights. He also identified that Ireland has a role in this. In the context of this latest decision by the UN Human Rights Committee, our obligation to deliver is more pressing than ever.”

Deputy Kelly also paid tribute to Siobhan Whelan for pursuing this case, and said that both she and Amanda Mellet have acted bravely and in the interest of other women.

“It takes courage to hold the State to account. Both Siobhan and Amanda have demonstrated enormous courage, and have acted in the common good,” he concluded.

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