Ireland seeks UN rights body role


Ireland is to seek election to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the first time, based on its commitment to justice and peace, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has announced.

The Taoiseach said that, both within the country and in the wider world, Ireland is at the fore of promoting peace, justice, security and development.

“This is a commitment and an engagement that we take with the utmost seriousness and that is why, this year, for the first time, Ireland is seeking election to the United Nations Human Rights Council,” he added.

“If elected, Ireland would support clear and strong action by the council in addressing human rights violations and in promoting universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The Human Rights Council (HRC) is an inter-governmental body within the UN consisting of 47 member states. The HRC was created by the UN General Assembly in 2006 for the purpose of addressing human rights violations,
replacing the much-criticised UN Commission on Human Rights. The council assesses the situation of human rights in all 192 UN member states through what is known as the Universal Periodic Review.

Mr Kenny was speaking in response to the message of Pope Benedict XVI for the 45th World Day of Peace.

“A commitment to justice and to peace is fundamental to achieving human rights,” he said.

“Through our participation in the European Union, in our ongoing commitment over many decades with a process that has led to peace on our island, and by our strong engagement with the peacekeeping forces of the United Nations, the Irish people have demonstrated an instinctive respect for peace, justice and human rights.

“It is absolutely right that these values are transmitted to the next generation.”