learn > news

Latest News

Human Rights Commission – Government rejects nominees of selection committee

Published: Thursday, December 07, 2000

The following is an open letter to Mr. John O'Donoghue T.D.

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform signed by the organisations below:

Dear Minister,
The following organisations are deeply disturbed by the manner in which the Government has chosen to appoint members of the new Human Rights Commission. Its decision to reject all but one of the priority nominees recommended by the selection committee reveals a clear lack of respect for a fair and equitable process. The fundamental principle of any effective human rights body is that it should be independent of the political process. In disregarding this basic principle, the Government has effectively disempowered the Human Rights Commission in its very infancy as a Commission composed of political appointees cannot have the necessary independence of the Executive to be in a position to monitor the human rights situation in Ireland. A transparent and accountable selection process for the Commission is vital to gain the trust and respect of those whose rights it was established to defend.

It was particularly hypocritical of the Government to have appointed a selection committee to undertake the responsibility of choosing qualified candidates for membership of the Commission when it had no intention of respecting an independent nomination process. Similarly, it is extraordinary that the Government should demand rigorous standards in respect of Northern Ireland or on the part of foreign Governments when its own standards are open to question.

The Government must remedy the damage caused in setting aside the independent selection procedure. We are therefore, calling on the Government to re-instate the sixteen people originally nominated by the selection committee.

Yours sincerely,

  • National Women's Council of Ireland
  • Irish Travellers Movement
  • National Traveller Women's Forum
  • Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
  • Galway One-World Centre
  • Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed
  • Irish Council for Civil Liberties
  • European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland
  • Women's Aid
  • Women's Education Research and Resource Centre
  • Irish Countrywomen's Association
  • Longford Irish Countrywomen's Association
  • National Youth Council of Ireland
  • Conference of Religious in Ireland (CORI) Justice Commission
  • Banulacht
  • Gay and Lesbian Equality Network
  • Parents Alone Resource Centre
  • One Parent Exchange and Network
  • Irish Association of Minority Ethnic Women
  • Community Workers Co-operative