Minister Lenihan pledges Ireland’s support for the new United Nations Human Rights Council
EMBARGOED until 10.00am 24 June 2006
Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, Conor Lenihan T.D., today underlined Ireland's commitment to the new UN Human Rights Council and to the UN's global human rights machinery.
Speaking at the opening of the Eighth Annual Department of Foreign Affairs NGO Forum on Human Rights, in Croke Park, Minister Lenihan pledged Ireland's firm support for the new Human Rights Council.
Addressing the 300 NGO activists at the Forum, Minister Lenihan said:
“Ireland will follow the Council's work closely and will offer whatever practical support we can. We are optimistic that the Council can conduct its business in a positive atmosphere. However, it must also be able to confront the reality of human rights abuses around the world.”
Minister Lenihan said that the new Council introduces two key new features. Firstly it will create a process to systematically evaluate all countries' human rights records and secondly it will be a standing body of the UN, meeting at least three times a year.
Minister Lenihan concluded by noting that Ireland has this year contributed €3.3m to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and pledged that Ireland will continue to offer strong support to the Office.
The Forum was also addressed by the United Nations Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees, Erika Feller, and by BBC Special Correspondent, Fergal Keane.
24 June 2006