Join The
Women's Human Rights Campaign,
Ireland 1998


December 10, 1998, will be the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Throughout the year the United Nations and governments around the world will hold events to mark the occasion and to promote awareness of human rights. This is an important opportunity for non-governmental groups and individuals to ask our elected representatives and policy makers what they have done to implement Ireland's international commitments to women's human rights locally, nationally and internationally.

Women's Human Rights Campaign Ireland, 1998 is part of the Global Campaign for Women's Human Rights which originated at the time of the UN World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna, 1993) and links women in every region of the world who are working for implementation of the Vienna Declaration's commitments to women's human rights, the Beijing Ptform for Action, and other human rights agreements.

Campaign 1998 builds on the success of the ICCL Women's Rights as Human Rights Conference (Dublin, March, 1997) when more than 400 women from around the country gathered to exchange views and plan strategies for achieving women's human right throughout Ireland.

Campaign 1998 will organise events to highlight women's human rights concerns, monitor government performance around the implementation of women's human rights, produce background papers and lobby documents for national and international arenas, and respond to emergency human rights situations affecting women.

Campaign 1998 will focus attention on critical areas where women's human rights are vulnerable including: reproductive rights; the human rights of women who belong to racial or ethinic minorities including refugees, asylum seekers, and Travellers; and the human rights concerns of other groups at risk such as women with disabilities, women prostitutes and prisoners, and lesbians.

Campaign 1998 will underscore that women's human rights are universal - they belong to all women in public and in private contexts, and indivisible - economic, social and cultural rights are no less important than civil and political rights.

In order to develop a human rights culture in Ireland where the human rights of all women are truly protected and promoted, the Campaign 1998 calls upon the Government to:

1. Move forward with the Constitutional Review Group's recommendation, in consultation with NGOs, to establish an independent Human Rights Commission that will oversee the domestic implementation of Ireland's international human rights commitments and where the human rights of women form an integral part of the Commission's mandate.

2. Remove all existing reservations and actively implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

3. Ratify and fully implement the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and the Convention Against Torture with full attention to gender-specific concerns under each instrument.

4. Comprehensively include women's human rights concerns and gender perspectives in all Government reporting to UN human rights bodies.

5. Involve NGOs in the development and execution of national plans of action to implement i) Vienna Declaration (1993) and ii) Beijing Platform for Action (1995).

6. Fully integrate gender and women's human rights concerns in all activities and programmes to mark the 50th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights.

7. Use 1998 to raise public awareness of violations of women's human rights -- especially all forms of violence against women -- as priority human rights concerns of the Government.

8. Fully implement the Refugee Act 1996 taking into consideration the human rights of women refugees and asylum seekers

9. Quickly move to introduce, adopt and fully implement Employment Equality and comprehensive Anti-Discrimination leglislation.

All interested women are urged to join the Women's Human Rights Campaign 1998. Individuals and groups are encouraged to meet locally and regionally to plan and coordinate activities. An international Calendar of Important Dates & Suggested Actions and a Sample Workshop on Women's Rights as Human Rights are included with this flyer.

Regular meetings to exchange information and plan activities will take place in Dublin throughout the year. The Campaign Coordinating Group includes women from Amnesty International (Irish Section), Banulacht, Community Workers Cooperative Women's Sub-Group, Forum of People with Disabilities Women's Sub-Group, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Irish Penal Reform Trust, Irish Refugee Council, Lesbian Education and Awareness, National Traveller Women's Forum, National Women's Council of Ireland, Oxfam (Ireland) Pavee Point, UNIFEM (Ireland), Womens' Aid, Women's Education, Research and Resource Centre and other women activists.