Minister of State David Stanton TD leads Irish delegation in Geneva to engage with the UN Committee on Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane, Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT)
28 July 2017
The Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, David Stanton TD has thanked the UN Expert Committee (UNCAT) for its level of interest, research and detailed questions in examining Ireland’s second Report under the UN Convention.
Addressing the Committee in Geneva today Minister Stanton said, “A lot of the questions asked refer to chapters in our past. These are legacy, historical issues of which we are not proud. We recognise and apologise for the serious wrongs that were made in the past and where we can, we will try to remedy these wrongs. Ireland is now an open, modern and progressive society. We are anxious to get things right in our country. Our international reputation is also very important to us.”
Minister Stanton noted that the Committee asked over 140 questions over a diverse range of topics and as comprehensive, a response as possible was provided in the limited time available.
The Minister of State welcomed the engagement with the Committee and noted the Committee’s acknowledgement of Ireland’s progress in key areas such as reducing overcrowding in prisons, improving prison conditions and practically eliminating slopping out, the commitment to involve the Ombudsman in the prisoner complaints process and the independence and mandate of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.
Minister Stanton said, “I welcome the opportunity to engage with the Committee which I see as a critical friend whose advice and direction we greatly value. It is crucial for us not to be complacent. We are here to listen and to learn from the Committee and from civil society, to make improvements and to progress. Human rights are at the forefront of our foreign policy and it is important to us that we are engaged in a positive way nationally and international.”
Minister Stanton also said, “The presence in Geneva of a large representation from civil society groups, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the State shows Ireland’s commitment to addressing human rights concerns.”