DFIs Contribution to the United Nations – Human Rights Council’s - Universal Periodic Review

April 27 2011


27th April 2011


On Friday the 22nd of April ICCL issued a response to the Irish Times article of the 20th of April which came as clarification by the UPR (Universal Periodic Review) Team as follows:

‘The ‘Your Rights Right Now’ Campaign has worked in consultation with civil society across the country to benchmark how Ireland is meeting its international human rights obligations. All of the views expressed in the Report do not necessarily reflect the policies and position of each endorsing organisation’.

The Report had stated clearly on its cover page:

“This report is endorsed by a broad range of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), trade unions and civil society groups. All of the views expressed in the report do not necessarily reflect the policies and positions of each endorsing organisation”.

DFI understands that “endorsement” does not mean full agreement with all of the views expressed in the Report. Through this “endorsement” mechanism we, along with others, are trying to respectfully contribute to a very critical life enhancing area in Ireland, namely “to benchmark how Ireland is meeting its international human rights obligations” which is the stated purpose of the Report.

The overriding impetus of DFI has been, is and will continue to be the preservation and enhancement of the life and opportunities of people with disabilities and their families.

Background to participation in this process

DFI has participated in a number of meetings concerning the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process that is taking place in Ireland in 2011. The UPR was established by the Human Rights Council of the UN in June 2007 and is a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States once every four years. It provides an opportunity for all States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights. DFI engaged in three separate processes on the UPR.

NUI Galway made their own disability specific submission and DFI was in contact with them in relation to this. We engaged with Amnesty International who co-ordinated a submission that had input from other organisations. That submission focused specifically on health and housing and we participated in the Irish Civil Society, ‘Your Rights Right Now’ Report.

The ‘Your Rights Right Now’ Report was developed by a coalition of 17 community and voluntary organisations and trade unions and was facilitated by the Irish Council of Civil Liberties. The purpose of the Report was to garner a wide range of human rights related issues from civil society into one report. The UPR process is highly structured and DFI values the opportunity to raise our concerns through this and other submissions.

Understanding of DFI engagement

The introduction to the Report states that the “Steering Group has coordinated cohesive and effective civil society involvement in Ireland’s UPR examination’, DFI is a member of the Steering Group. DFI participated in the collaborative effort on the understanding that all of the views in the Report do not necessarily reflect the policies and perspectives of each participating and endorsing organisation while all organisations share a commitment to protect and advance human rights and dignity and all welcome the opportunity to work with others to advance these rights.

It is important for the work of DFI that we collaborate with others, which is something that we have a right to do and that is what we have done on this occasion.

DFI approach to its work on behalf of people with disabilities

Our primary objective is to advance the rights and participation of people with disabilities in society and clearly we need to do this while respecting the rights of others and the range of positions that others may legitimately adopt.

Our work is totally about social justice and rights for people with disabilities which is ultimately to sustain and enhance life and wellbeing. DFI participated in this work on the basis that the views expressed in the Report do not necessarily reflect the policies and position of each of the endorsing organisations.

It is the view of DFI that international human rights obligations, most recently the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, have and continue to play, an important role in committing our State to ensure full and participative lives for people with disabilities and their families.

DFI Submission

The DFI submission to the formation of the ‘Your Rights Right Now’ Report is available on our website here www.disability-federation.ie/index.php and includes a wide range of concerns DFI has in relation to the implementation of the National Disability Strategy and the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities in Irish society. These are all issues relating to enhancing and supporting the lives of people with disabilities from a human rights perspective.