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Human Rights Issues

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 28 March 2013

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Questions (82)

Bernard Durkan


82. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the international community continues to support recognition of women's rights in India, with particular reference to the need to bring about a cessation of violence against women; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15935/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Government of Ireland is aware of attacks on women in India in recent months and is concerned about the situation. Ireland’s diplomatic relations with India are maintained through the Irish embassy in New Delhi and through India’s embassy in Dublin. Further to this, Ireland and India continue to cooperate through the EU and the UN to ensure that human rights are respected in India and elsewhere.

I have been informed that India’s Parliament recently passed into law the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance (2013) in response to recent attacks on women. This follows a call on 31 December 2012, from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, for urgent and rational debate on comprehensive measures to address such crimes. She also welcomed the Indian Government’s announcement that it would establish a Commission of Inquiry into public safety of women in New Delhi.

‘UN Women’, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women is active in India, and continues to push for the creation and implementation of laws, policies and programmes that provide real opportunities for women to exercise their rights as equal citizens of India.

The Deputy may also be aware that India underwent a Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights on 24 May 2012. During this review, Ireland together with our EU partners, supported recommendations which called upon India to enact comprehensive reforms to address all acts of violence against women.

At EU level, India’s relationship with the European Union has been underpinned by the EU-India Strategic Partnership since 2004. This Partnership has seen both sides commit to dialogues on areas of mutual interest, including human rights issues. The latest EU-India Summit was held in New Delhi in February 2012 where, among other matters raised, there was an exchange of views concerning human rights.

Ireland was elected to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) for the period 2013-2015 in late 2012. During our term at the HRC Ireland will work with partners, including India, on a range of matters of mutual concern and interest and will continue to urge India to ensure that the rights of all citizens are protected.