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28th March 2018, 17:34:50 UTC

A once-in-a-generation opportunity for Ireland to put in place laws which respect the human rights of women and girls


Today, Amnesty International Ireland welcomed the Irish government’s announcement that a referendum on Repeal of Eighth Amendment will be held on May 25.


The forthcoming referendum represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Ireland to put in place laws which respect women and girls, allowing them to make decisions that are right for them and their families. For many years, Ireland has treated women as second class citizens by denying them access to reproductive rights and health care. In Ireland, men have complete control over their bodies, but the Eighth Amendment ensures women do not.


“For too long, Ireland has abandoned, punished, hurt and harmed women because of this Amendment. It has taken 35 years, seven governments, a European Court of Human Rights ruling, the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar and grave harm to countless other women, Ireland being repeatedly hauled before the United Nations, a massive public campaign, a Citizens’ Assembly, and a special Joint Oireachtas Committee to get us to this referendum,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.


“It’s time to care for women at home, to end the indignity, the secrecy, the shame our laws have inflicted on them. For too long women have been exiled abroad and criminalised at home. We can only end this if we remove the Eighth Amendment from our constitution. Only the Irish people can do this, and now, finally we have the opportunity to do so,” said Colm O’Gorman.


It is Amnesty International’s sincere hope that the referendum will be passed and that the government will then move promptly to enact legislation providing for the provision of abortion services in Ireland in a way that respects women and girls’ human rights.