Ireland’s EU presidency half-hearted on human rights at half-way point

Ireland’s EU presidency half-hearted on human rights at half-way point
(Brussels, 25 April 2013) Amnesty International’s mid-term review of Ireland’s presidency of the European Union, published today, reveals slow progress on violence against women and Roma rights, but acknowledges important successes by the Irish Government in driving forward the debate on human rights protection in the EU. 
“It’s three years since the EU promised a strategy on violence against women, including female genital mutilation, but there’s been scant progress”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.
“It’s critical to the EU’s credibility that its support for women’s rights internationally is matched by seriously combating violence against women in EU countries. Ireland can help do this by signing the Istanbul Convention on violence against women before its presidency ends.”
The mid-term review also considered the Irish presidency’s record on EU Roma rights.
The EU's six million Roma people live in poverty,” said Beger. “Forced evictions are common in France, Italy and Romania, and education is segregated in the Czech Republic, Greece and Slovakia.”
“The presidency’s statement on International Roma Day was welcome, but we need action. Ireland should be using the presidency to coordinate the work of EU countries in developing integration strategies for marginalised Roma communities.”
Amnesty International also highlighted some human rights successes under Ireland’s EU presidency to date.
“Ireland played a key role in coordinating EU countries during negotiations on a global Arms Trade Treaty," said Beger. “Irish negotiators also successfully finalised a draft agreement with the Council of Europe to allow the EU to sign the European Convention on Human Rights. This will help ensure the EU’s own legal system is in line with the convention, strengthening rights protection for people in Europe.”
For more information please contact:
Peter Clarke  
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office
Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0) 2 548 2773