U.N. Rights Body Rejects Ireland's Mother And Baby Inquiry Plans

THE UNITED NATION’S committee on human rights has told Ireland it is concerned at the lack of "prompt, independent, thorough and effective investigations into all allegations of abuse, mistreatment or neglect" in Magdalene Laundries and mother and baby homes.

In its concluding observations to a review, published today, the committee said it "regrets the failure to identify all perpetrators of the violations that occurred [and] the low number of prosecutions..."

The Committee said:
"[Ireland should] conduct prompt, independent and thorough investigation into all allegations of abuse in Magdalene Laundries, children’s institutions and mother and baby homes; [and] prosecute and punish the perpetrators with penalties commensurate with the gravity of the offence..." 
The human rights watchdog also rejected the general basis of Ireland's previous inquiries into symphysiotomy and the Magdalene homes - including the system of ex-gratia, no-fault payments made to victims.

The Committee said it regretted Ireland's:
"failure to provide full and effective remedies to victims. "
Instead, the committee recommended that:
"[Ireland should] ensure that all victims obtain an effective remedy, including appropriate compensation, restitution, rehabilitation and measures of satisfaction."


The U.N. conclusions are a blow to the Government as it considers the terms of reference and scope of its promised inquiry into mother and baby homes and other related institutions. 


If the government proceeds with an inquiry modelled on it previous inquiries, it will do so in the face of a clear warning, in advance from the U.N. rights body. 

The recommendations are a victory for activist groups who made submissions to the Committee during its review of Ireland's human rights record. 


Days ahead of the final conclusions, the Irish First Mothers group wrote to alert the Committee that:

"the planned unwed mothers and babies inquiry is taking the same shape as have previous "inquiries" - with the same defects you and the committee members have already identified in previous inquiries. We urge you to note these reservations in your concluding remarks in re Ireland and to impress your concerns on the Irish government...." Irish Birth Moms Appeal To UN Rights Cmte
In an earlier consultation meeting with the Irish government, the birth mothers group had advised a criminal co-track to the inquiry to help enable a higher level of prosecutions. The minister dismissed that advice --but now the U.N rights body is critical of the "low number of prosecutions."

Following the review conclusions -which explicitly mention the
 forthcoming Mother and Baby Homes inquiry, there is no doubt that U.N. body shares the concerns of Irish activists and has joined them in opposition to the Irish Government's plans for the inquiry.

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