Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (240)

John Gormley

Question:

357 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if a representative of the United Nations human rights committee recently requested a meeting with a representative of Ireland to discuss the Government's response to the findings by the human rights committee that Ireland had violated the rights of a person (details supplied) under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; if such a meeting took place in Geneva during the last session of the human rights committee in October-November 2003, what was discussed at the meeting and the outcome of the meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1240/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

The human rights committee, composed of 18 independent experts of recognised competence in the field of human rights, monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The committee was established when the covenant entered into force in 1976. The first optional protocol, which entered into force together with the covenant, authorises the committee to consider also allegations from individuals concerning violations of their civil and political rights. Ireland ratified both the covenant and optional protocol on 8 December 1989 and it entered into force in Ireland shortly thereafter.

In response to a petition under the first optional protocol in April 2001, the committee found Ireland had violated the rights of the person concerned. Ireland responded to the views-findings of the committee in August 2001. Ireland informed the committee that, in acknowledgement of the views of the committee and its obligations under the covenant, it proposed to pay £1,000 to the author of the petition.

The special rapporteur of the human rights committee on views, Mr. Nisuke Ando, presented a report for information to the committee on follow up to cases where a violation of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has been found. In his report on this case he recommended to the committee that he arrange a meeting with Ireland as the state party.

In response to a request from Mr. Ando, an officer of the permanent mission of Ireland to the UN in Geneva met with Mr. Ando on 4 November 2003. At the meeting, Mr. Ando recalled the background to the case and asked the representative of Ireland if Ireland had any additional information on the case. In response the representative of Ireland stated that he had no additional information on the case. It was noted,inter alia, that the findings of the HRC in the case had been considered by the committee to review the operation of the Offences against the State Acts and related matters. Mr. Ando will report on his meeting with the representative of Ireland to the next meeting of the human rights committee at its 80th session, which is scheduled from 15 March to 2 April 2004 in New York.