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Human Rights must be central to Ireland’s Foreign Policy

02 October 2018

Trócaire has welcomed the opportunity to respond to the Irish government’s consultation on its new International Development Policy.

Maria Soto and other Ixil women celebrate after former Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt was found guilty of genocide

Maria Soto and other Ixil women celebrate after former Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt was found guilty of genocide against the indigenous Ixil people in the 1980s. Trócaire's partners had fought for almost 30 years for justice for the Ixil people. (Photo: Elena Hermosa)

Ireland's new Development policy will build on the existing programme which is delivered by Irish Aid and will outline how Ireland can help build a more peaceful, sustainable and equal world. 

Niamh Garvey, head of policy and advocacy at Trócaire explained: “Ireland is recognised as a world leader in overseas development and contributes significantly to the fight against global poverty. However, to be as effective as possible, it is important that Ireland’s policy adapts to the changing world and that Irish Aid’s new programme will truly make a difference in the long-term.

“At Trócaire, we have been working in some of the poorest communities across the world for the last 45 years and understand the issues that affect the most vulnerable including those fleeing conflict and dealing with the effects of climate change. We therefore welcome the opportunity to share our experience to help ensure Ireland meets its Sustainable Development Goals through this new policy.”

Human rights

Niamh continued: “Trócaire has consistently highlighted that human rights need to be central to Ireland’s foreign policy, reflecting the commitments Ireland has made by ratifying all core United Nations treaties. This is now more important than ever as we witness a global increase in human rights violations and widening inequalities. 

“Ireland must continue to do all it can to defend and protect the rights of marginalised people and communities across the world and the new policy should outline how Ireland will reach those most excluded and those left furthest behind.” 

Gender Equality

Gender equality has always been a prominent feature in Ireland’s development work but Trócaire highlights that significant challenges remain and should be addressed. 

“There is still widespread discrimination in terms of women’s access to and control over natural resources, particularly land,” said Niamh. “Supporting women’s natural resource rights and the empowerment of women farmers in development programmes addressing hunger and resilience must remain a priority in Ireland’s work to end hunger.”

Climate Change

“Climate Change of course continues to have a severe impact on the most vulnerable in the world with prolonged droughts and an increase in flooding in developing countries. 

“While Ireland’s performance on domestic climate action has been poor, Irish Aid is recognised internationally for having developed a high quality, poverty-focused approach in its climate change adaptation work. This work however needs to be strengthened and there should be a greater focus on its funding in the new policy.”

Trócaire also argues that Ireland needs a clear plan of how it intends to meet the 0.7% target in ODA spending. “We would urge the government to publish a roadmap on how exactly this will be achieved by 2025,” said Niamh.

Read Trócaire’s submission to Ireland’s new International Development Policy.

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