The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has called on the Government to make an annual statement to the Dáil on Ireland’s progress in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
IHREC’s Chief Commissioner, Sinéad Gibney, also told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Disability Matters that plans to ratify the optional protocol that accompanies the UNCRPD should be brought forward.
The rights body welcomed the Government’s commitment to develop an implementation plan to coordinate the UNCRPD. Ms Gibney said, however, that the commission had already become concerned about “growing delays” in the process.
'Need to reconsider plan'
Alongside the UNCRPD, the optional protocol establishes a way for disabled people to make individual complaints to the UN in cases where all available domestic remedies have been exhausted.
Last week, IHREC wrote to the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, and Minister of State Anne Rabbitte, calling on the State to move towards adopting the protocol “as a matter of urgency”.
"We consider that the State’s plan to ratify the optional protocol after the first reporting cycle, which could take several more years, needs to be reconsidered and should be brought forward,” Ms Gibney told the committee.
“Relying on the committee’s feedback and observations to guide Ireland’s implementation of the convention is no longer an option,” she said, adding that disabled people had already waited too long to have their rights realised.