Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss Ireland’s candidature to the UN Human Rights Council

February 8th, 2012 - Pat Breen

The Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade will focus on Ireland’s candidature to the United Nations Human Rights Council when it will hear from the Human Rights Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at its meeting today, 8th February.

Among those attending the meeting from the Human Rights Unit from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are: Colin Wrafter, Director, Human Rights Unit, Department Foreign Affairs and Trade; Breda Lee, Deputy Director, HRU, DFA; and Aoife Ni Fhearghail, Desk Officer, HRU, DFA.

Committee Chairman, Pat Breen TD said: “Established in 2006, the United Nations Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body made up of 47 States. It is the UN’s principal human rights body and is responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe.

Human Rights Council members are elected by the Member States of the UN General Assembly in a secret ballot. Members are elected for a three-year term. If Ireland is elected, we would serve as a Council member for the 2013 to 2015 term.

Ireland is a member of the Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG). Three seats are available in that group for the 2013-2015 term and five WEOG members are seeking election: Ireland, the United States, Germany, Sweden and Greece. This is Ireland’s first time to seek election to the Human Rights Council.

Election to the Council would add to the high standing and reputation Ireland has built up in the UN over many decades. If elected our term would coincide with our Presidency of the European Union from January to June 2013 and it would directly follow our Chairmanship-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe which ends on 31st December 2012. Our participation in these organisations would be a significant boost to our international profile.

Today we will receive an update on the status of Ireland’s candidature and our chances of election. We will also have an opportunity to ascertain what Ireland’s priorities will be if elected to the Human Rights Council.”

This meeting will take place in Committee Room 1 at 2.30pm on Wednesday, 8th February.

Committee proceedings can be followed live at: