Protecting Human Rights in Austerity

FIDH and its member organisation in Ireland, FLAC, organised on May 14 and 15 an international conference in Dublin on ‘Protecting human rights in austerity’. It brought together organisations from all over Europe as well as Irish bodies working on the ground on economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights issues.

Speakers looked at how human rights have been protected over the period of austerity, including :

  • Prof Olivier De Schutter, member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, with Emily Logan of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission on Human rights in austerity : challenges to the protection of human rights in Europe ;
  • Interventions from Greece and Spain where austerity programmes have also been implemented ;
  • Key Irish NGOs on the impact of austerity on human rights like housing, health, social security and work ;
  • A session on the role of the EU in imposing austerity involving MEP Barbara Spinelli and Graham Stull of the European Commission representation in Ireland ;
  • A look at mechanisms to protect ESC rights, including the European Social Charter and the current Irish collective complaint on housing.

FIDH President, Karim Lahidji and FIDH Vice-Presidents, Noeline Blackwell (Ireland) and Dimitris Christopoulos (Greece) attended this conference.

FLAC also presented the Update of Our Voice, Our Rights, the Irish civil society report on how economic, social and cultural rights are protected in Ireland, comprising evidence from more than 80 organisations and individuals. Both documents are being used by the UN Committee to inform its Periodic Review of Ireland’s compliance with the Covenant, which culminates in a formal examination of the Irish government delegation, headed by Minister Sean Sherlock, in Geneva on 8-9 June. FLAC will be leading a delegation of NGOs to the Geneva examination, for informal parallel meetings with the UN Committee.

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