UN committee is unsparing over State’s human rights record

Irish Times

Paul Cullen

Ireland, for all its faults, is not a country normally associated with the practice of torture.

The very appearance, therefore, of a Government delegation before the United Nations Committee Against Torture has high embarrassment potential, if nothing else.

No fewer than 22 Irish civil servants and diplomats lined up in Geneva on Thursday to listen to a litany of human rights concerns delivered by the members of the committee. Given the range and seriousness of the issues raised, it must have been a torturous experience.

Eradicating torture was one of the challenges taken up by the UN in the era that followed the second World War.

The search for universally applicable standards meant it was 1984 before the UN General Assembly adopted a Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

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