IRELAND TO DOUBLE FUNDING FOR THE OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, MRS ROBINSON
Liz O'Donnell T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs today announced a very significantly increased contribution of IR£1,250,000 to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Announcing the funding, Minister of State O' Donnell stated that, "I am acutely aware of the major gulf between the various onerous mandates that have been given to the High Commissioner's Office and the resources made available to that Office. As a direct and timely response to this situation, Ireland will almost double its contribution to Mrs. Robinson's Office this year".
The huge challenges which the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights faces was made abundantly clear to all, earlier this year, when Mary Robinson, the High Commissioner, announced that she would not be seeking a second full term in her current position.
The Minister of State went on to say that, "Furthering democratisation, respect for human rights and the rule of law is an essential part of Ireland's foreign policy. This funding will assist the OHCHR to continue spearheading international efforts for the promotion and protection of human rights. It will support the Office in its mission of helping to build democratic structures and encourage more inclusive, democratic societies in the least developed countries and in the emerging democracies of Eastern Europe".
"I have also approved a multi-annual funding arrangement with the OHCHR. Commitments of IR£1.7 million and IR£2 million have been made for 2002 and 2003 respectively. Such secure funding provides a degree of financial predictability which enables the Office to plan future programmes and strategies towards vindicating human rights - including the right to development itself", the Minister of State said.
Note to editors:
This year's contribution will support the High Commission's activities across a broad spectrum. Among the activities being supported is the Office's Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights which will receive IR£150,000. An allocation of IR£150,000 will go to the OHCHR's Trust Fund for Human Rights Field Operations some of which will be used in support of the Field Office in Colombia. A contribution of IR£110,000 is being made for the World Conference against Racism to be held in Durban, South Africa, from 31 August 7 September 2001. This contribution brings total Irish support for UNHCHR's role in organising this important conference to IR£220,000.
Other allocations provided for within this year's overall contribution include the human rights of Persons with Disabilities (IR£150,000), support for the Offices's voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (IR£100,000), Human Rights aspects of the peacekeeping operation in Burundi (IR£80,000), and IR£50,000 to fund Human Rights in Development initiatives within the UN system.Ireland's contribution to the OHCHR in 2000 amounted to £650,000.