The theme chosen for the 12th Forum was the “Review of the White Paper on Irish Aid”. This theme is of particular interest to the Government and NGO sector given Ireland’s longstanding commitment to supporting the realisation of human rights in the developing world, and Ireland’s work to strengthen human rights institutions at national and international levels. Public consultations on the Review of the White Paper on Irish Aid will take place between February and March 2012 and these will be important in shaping the policy and programme priorities of Irish Aid in the years ahead (for more information on the Review of the White Paper on Irish Aid please see: www.irishaid.ie/WhitePaper).
The Forum on Human Rights was opened with an address by the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Eamon Gilmore T.D., and was followed by a panel discussion focussing on the Review of the White Paper on Irish Aid and the importance of human rights. Speakers during the panel discussion included the Minister for Trade and Development, Mr Joe Costello T.D. (Minister Costello’s remarks can be found here), and a number of senior international figures with development and human rights experience. Further information on the speakers can be found here.
Following the panel discussion, the Forum attendees divided into three workshops. The first workshop looked at the role of human rights in development aid, focussing on the experience from the perspective of aid agencies. The second workshop focussed on the space for civil society in development, as well as the role played by human rights institutions and human rights defenders. The third workshop looked at the role of human rights in Ireland’s Foreign Policy, including in Ireland’s overseas development programme. The final programme is available here.
An informal summary of the Forum is available here. The following presentations were provided:
Workshop 3: Dr Niamh Reilly