Minister Dermot Ahern welcomes President Jimmy Carter to Human Rights Forum in Croke Park and pledges substantial funding to the Carter Center.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern T.D., today welcomed President Jimmy Carter, former
US President and Nobel Peace Laureate to Dublin. President Carter was in Dublin to address the Ninth Annual Department of Foreign Affairs NGO Forum on Human Rights in Croke Park.
The Minister praised the work of the Nobel Laureate, both during his Presidency and subsequently as Director of the Carter Center, saying:
“We in Ireland owe a particular debt to President Carter, as he was the one, in 1977, who first called for the British and Irish Governments to work together and pointed out the economic benefits of peace, which we are all enjoying thirty years later.
“President Carter has worked tirelessly throughout his life to promote and protect human rights and to further economic and social development. It is an honour to welcome him to the NGO Forum today.”
The Minister took the opportunity to announce a new initiative on support for the work of the Carter Center in the field of democratic reform and election support.
“I am delighted to announce that Irish Aid has agreed to provide €600,000 over three years to the Carter Center for its election monitoring and support activities. This support will help to ensure that the Carter Center can continue to be one of the leading international agencies in the areas of democracy and human rights,” he said.
Addressing the 300 NGO activists at the Forum, President Carter spoke about the need for an ongoing commitment to peace and human rights around the world and praised the ongoing partnership between Government and civil society in Ireland as an example for others to follow.
The Forum was also addressed by a wide range of national and international human rights experts.
The NGO Forum on Human Rights was established by the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1998 to allow discussion on a wide range of human rights issues with the emphasis on foreign policy. It is an annual event which acts as a vital link between the Department and all those active in the field of human rights.
The keynote speaker at the Forum was former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, founder of The Carter Centre and Nobel Laureate. He was accompanied to Ireland by his wife, Rosalynn Carter and Mr. John Moores, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Carter Centre and Dr. John Hardman, CEO of the Carter Centre.
President Carter established the Carter Center in 1982. The Center is highly regarded and works in the areas of human rights, conflict prevention, democracy and health. Irish Aid and the Carter Center work in partnership in the areas of support for the democratic process, particularly the election process, in developing countries and human rights defenders.
The agreement signed today will provide €600,000 over three years as core support for Carter Center election monitoring and support missions. The Carter Center uses the election process as an opportunity to raise awareness and inform the electorate on their democratic rights and responsibilities, often developing programmes to address issues raised. This initiative will enable the Carter Centre to be more pro-active and initiate election support missions and activities without having to wait for the funding to be raised. Irish Aid has previously funded the Carter Center’s election support activities in Liberia and Nicaragua
Other speakers at the Ninth Forum included:
- Professor Louise Doswald-Beck: Professor at the Graduate Institute of International
- Prof. Theo van Boven, former UN Special Rapporteur against Torture
- Prof. Francoise Hampson, Expert member of the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
- Prof. Michael O'Flaherty, Co-Director of the Human Rights Centre, University of Nottingham
- Mr. Roberto Ricci, Head of the Rapid Response Unit, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Mr. David Petrasek, Director of Policy at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
Approximately 300 activists with human rights NGOs were in attendance at the event which took place in Croke Park.
Department of Foreign Affairs
19 June 2007