Ireland's human rights not as good as in 1990s, says Higgins


Human rights in Ireland are in “not as good a position” as they were in the 1990s, President Michael D Higgins has said.

Speaking at a conference in Dublin yesterday on the role of women in peace and conflict resolution, particularly with reference to a United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR), which affirms the important role in conflict resolution.

UNSCR number 1,325 was adopted by the council in 2000. Mr Higgins said there was a danger, unless resolutions were implemented and – in the case of 1,325, women were brought to the centre in peace-building – that though people would get a sense of wellbeing from talking about commitments, they would deliver little more than a “rhetorical glow”.

“Human rights are not in as good a position as they were in the 1990s. There is a tendency to define human rights in legal terms alone and not by extension into economic and social realities.”

Optimism was important, he added.

“It is, though, one thing to be optimistic. It is another to plan carefully so as not to be seduced by the glow of rhetoric.”

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland is committed to implementing a national action plan on UNSCR 1,325 by 2014.

Among the obligations on Irish participants in conflict resolution will be that they must listen to the voices of women affected by conflict, strengthen women’s leadership in conflict resolution and leverage Ireland’s participation in global and regional forums to champion the implementation of resolution 1,325.

Yesterday’s event was hosted by cross-Border, feminist and peace-building organisation Hanna’s House.