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Business and Human Rights

Global justice questions to ask your election candidates

When candidates come knocking at your door, you can use your voice to question them about Climate Breakdown, Israeli Settlements and companies abusing Human Rights.

Signs from the Dublin Climate Strikes, September 2019. Photo : Garry Walsh Signs from the Dublin Climate Strikes, September 2019. Photo : Garry Walsh

As we get closer to election day, are you getting plenty of knocks on your door from candidates? Elections are dominated by domestic policies, but Ireland also has an important role to play on the world stage. Whoever forms the next Government will have to ensure Ireland is positively contributing to global issues.

Today, people living in the communities where Trócaire works face exceptional challenges. They are confronted by the harsh realities of conflict, war, hunger, climate change, gender discrimination and a real threat to their fundamental human rights. They are strong and resilient people, but their voices need to be heard on doorsteps during this election.

To support those communities who are on the edge, you can use your power as a voter. We would like you to question candidates on their policies and positions related to Climate Change, Israeli Settlements, and Business and Human Rights.

Will you take action to prevent Climate Breakdown?

Over the last year, the climate has become one of the most talked about issues. As large swathes of the Amazon are cut down, and unprecedented fires sweep across Australia, the reality of global heating has hit home. Daily the news delivers us more dire predictions from our scientists. We are told that the new decade will be a defining one for people and  planet, and we do not have the luxury of waiting.

However, the last year has also seen hope come from unexpected places, as school children and ordinary people have started taking to the streets. ‘Our house is on fire’ spoke the teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who inspired a global movement of children to go on strike. Protests have swept the globe, and notable people from Mary Robinson to David Attenborough are using their influence to call for action.

Trócaire has campaigned for action on the Climate for over a decade, and we have joined the school strikers on the streets. Ireland has to play a strong role, and the next five years will be crucial. We need candidates to be hearing the public concern for our planet.

Please ask your candidate:
If elected, will you commit to deliver an annual emissions reductions rate of at least 8% a year within the lifetime of the next Government, in line with the Paris Agreement, putting carbon budgets in law to get us there?

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Will you take action on Israeli settlements?

Despite international condemnation, the construction of illegal Israeli settlements has continued to build pace. There are now around 600,000 Israeli settlers in approximately 250 illegal settlements in the West Bank, built on Palestinian land. Trócaire is working with Palestinian communities on the ground who are forcibly removed from their land in order to make way for these settlements.

These settlements are illegal under international law. In these illegal Israeli settlements, there are well-developed neighbourhoods, subsidised by the Israeli government. There are shopping malls, cinemas and universities. Many houses have swimming pools, while some Palestinians communities close by are living in tents in the desert with little access to water.

Two different peoples are living in the same area, but with different privileges, rights and legal systems. It is hard not to think of this as anything other than apartheid.

At present, there is a historic opportunity for Ireland to take action on this issue. We can pass legislation that would make it illegal in Ireland to sell goods from Israeli settlements.

A majority of the Seanad and the Dáil have already voted in favour of the Occupied Territories Bill. However, it will need the support of the next Dáil to pass into legislation.

Please ask your candidate:
If elected, will you commit to enacting the Occupied Territories Bill?

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Will you act to make Irish businesses respect Human Rights?

The past two decades have seen a global rush for natural resources and large-scale land acquisition. This race for natural resources in the developing world has led to land six times the size of Ireland being sold to corporations since 2000.

Indigenous communities often face the human rights impacts of this race for natural resources, often imposed on communities without consent. Killings of land, environmental and indigenous defenders are increasing year on year and human rights defenders are increasingly being labelled as terrorists and criminals. In 2019 alone, 304 human rights defenders across the world were targeted and killed for their work.

The global human rights legal framework has not kept pace with the modern globalised economy. It is largely voluntary and is failing to prevent human rights violations. It should not be an option for companies to choose whether they respect human rights or not.

That is why we need our next government to bring in a new law that would make it mandatory for Irish companies to respect human rights and the environment in their operations around the world.

Please ask your candidate:
If elected, will you commit to progress the initiation of legislation that ensures Irish companies respect human rights and the environment, both at home and abroad?

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