Amnesty says protection of life Act fails on human rights level

Accompanying guidance published by the Department of Health also criticised

Draft Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill. With regard to the PLDPA and the accompanying guidance, Amnesty says: “Neither . . . provided sufficient assistance to medical professionals in assessing when a pregnancy posed a risk to life, or adequately protected the rights of the pregnant woman or girl”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Draft Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill. With regard to the PLDPA and the accompanying guidance, Amnesty says: “Neither . . . provided sufficient assistance to medical professionals in assessing when a pregnancy posed a risk to life, or adequately protected the rights of the pregnant woman or girl”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

The Protection of Life During Pregnancy (PLDP) Act, commenced last year, and the accompanying guidance for clinicians published by the Department of Health, fail to comply with Ireland’s international human rights obligations, according to Amnesty International.

In its “country report” on Ireland, contained in the organisation’s global report published today, Amnesty also highlights what it says are the continued barriers faced by transgender people seeking legal recognition and the inadequate response by the State to victims of past institutional abuse.

With regard to the PLDPA and the accompanying guidance, Amnesty says: “Neither . . . provided sufficient assistance to medical professionals in assessing when a pregnancy posed a risk to life, or adequately protected the rights of the pregnant woman or girl”.

It says the Government’s proposed Bill to recognise the gender of transgender individuals, published in December, falls “short of human rights standards, including by requiring transgender individuals to dissolve their marriages or civil partnerships before applying for legal gender recognition”.

Asylum seeker

The report highlights “continuing delays” for asylum seekers getting decisions on their applications for refugee status and their consequent prolonged stays in direct provision centres.

On the issue of violence against women and children in the past, it says the State’s ex gratia compensation scheme for women who were incarcerated in Magdalene laundries “fell below adequate standards of truth, justice and reparations”.

The report notes the establishment in June of a commission of investigation into the abuses of women and infants in mother and baby homes between the 1920s and 1990s.

It also notes the constitutional convention recommended in February that economic social and cultural rights be incorporated into the Constitution.

Also noted is the State’s request to the European Court of Human Rights in December to review its 1978 judgement in Ireland v United Kingdom, a landmark case concerning the torture and ill-treatment of 14 Irish nationals held by the British authorities under internment powers in Northern Ireland between 1971 and 1972.