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15th February 2017, 16:46:28 UTC

Today, in Geneva, the Irish Government has failed to assure the UN that a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment will be scheduled. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, is currently reviewing Ireland’s record on women’s rights. During today’s exchanges, a number of questions were posed by the Committee about the outcome of the Citizens’ Assembly process.

“It is very disappointing that Ireland did not tell the UN committee today that a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment will be put to the Irish people. It is particularly troubling that the Committee was informed that the government could decide to propose amending the Eighth Amendment instead of repealing it. The Irish Government is under an immediate obligation to bring Irish law into compliance with international human rights law, which requires the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. For as long as the Eighth Amendment is in place, Ireland remains in serious violation of the human rights of women and girls.  It is long past time for the government to end their procrastination on what is a serious human rights issue for women and girls in Ireland,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.

“Ireland’s legal framework on abortion has already been harshly criticised by a number of UN human rights treaty bodies. Yet, the government delegation would not commit to allowing the people of Ireland to vote on repealing the Eighth Amendment. This is despite the fact that the majority of people in Ireland favour both expanded access to abortion and the decriminalisation of abortion. Our independent polling published last year showed that 80 per cent of people would vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment, either outright or if reasonable restrictions were put in place.”

Amnesty International’s submission to the Committee in advance of Ireland’s review is available at here. The Committee’s concluding observations will be published in coming weeks.

 Notes to editor:

The Amnesty International/Red C Research & Markets poll was conducted in February 2016 to establish a deeper understanding of public attitudes to Ireland’s laws on abortion. The poll’s complete findings are available here: http://amnesty.ie/poll