I have already written a number of blogs on Ireland's Universal Periodic Review (UPR, for short) which will take place in October in Geneva and for which the Irish Government is preparing a report – 20 and 28 April 2011, 18 and 21 May 2011 and, in particular, 15 February 2011. So you have a fair idea of what this is all about.
A number of Government-sponsored public meetings have been held throughout the country recently in conjunction with the UPR process. The seventh, and final, ‘public consultation’ took place in Dublin last week. These event consisted of a fact-finding exercise towards the preparation of the Government’s report to the UN Human Rights Council which will be examining it next October.
Having been given to understand that there would be no presentations to introduce the meeting (on other occasions, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the Irish Human Rights Commission – both advocates of abortion – were among the groups giving presentations) it was somewhat of a surprise to see that the IHRC was there once more, complete with a screen showing power-point overheads. When the IHRC presence was queried it was noted that the overheads were changed very soon afterwards.
Although there were some other aspects of human rights raised for discussion during the evening, it was quite evident that the predominant subject was that of the human rights of the unborn child. A call was made once more that a pro-life/pro-family representative should be at least appointed as an adviser to the Government to assist in the preparation of the official report, if not indeed appointed as a member of the Government delegation that would appear before the UN committee in October. The Government official who chaired the meeting appeared to be getting more and more agitated and frustrated as the evening wore on, and the meeting eventually ended fairly abruptly. We understand that all of the UPR consultation meetings held since the beginning of this particular process followed the same pattern.
Will the Government take on board anything that was put forward by the many pro-life and pro-family people at this and the other six meetings that preceded it?
It will be interesting to see if they do so.