Human Rights Committee calls for implementation of Traveller & Roma inclusion policies

Traveller and Roma organisations welcome the clear focus on Traveller and Roma policy implementation highlighted by the UN Human Rights Committee in its Concluding Observations of Ireland under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, published today.  

Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, along with National Traveller Women’s Forum, Galway Traveller Movement, Donegal Travellers and Minceirs Whiden, welcome the Observations regarding civil and political rights in Ireland by the UN Human Rights Committee. 

The Human Rights Committee calls on the Irish Government to ‘ensure prompt and full implementation’ of a new National Traveller & Roma Inclusion Strategy (NTRIS) ‘containing clear deliverables’.

Minister Roderic O Gorman at Ireland’s Review under ICCPR in July 2022.

The delayed review of the first NTRIS 2017-2021 has now commenced and the Human Rights Committee has recommended NTRIS deliverables should be founded on human rights and guarantee the protection of all rights in line with international standards. 

“Traveller and Roma organisations have worked with the State over a number of years to ensure we have dedicated measures in place to address the human rights situation of Travellers and Roma. The NTRIS, along with other measures, have been welcomed but they need full implementation and resourcing to bring about urgently needed improvements in the lives of Travellers and Roma,” said Martin Collins, Co-Director, Pavee Point.

“We believe that the time for implementation is now before more generations of Travellers and Roma lose out in education, health, employment and accommodation. 

See report on Ireland’s Review under ICCPR

“Our human rights need to be given priority and that means the systemic racism that exists in terms of Travellers and Roma needs to be challenged in a real way,” said Megan Berry, Community Development  Worker, Pavee Point. 

The Human Rights Committee voiced its concerns at anti-Traveller and anti-Roma discrimination and racism in Ireland and also highlighted concern at the over-representation of Travellers in all parts of the penal system. 

High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet

Concerns were also voiced this week by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet. Arising from the 3rd Universal Periodic Review of Ireland earlier this year and recommendations issued to the Irish State, the High Commissioner urged the Irish Government to pay particular attention to finalising the next National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy and strengthening efforts to facilitate Traveller & Roma access to housing, education and employment.

Other related areas named by the Committee in its Concluding Observations include the implementation of the National Action Plan Against Racism, the introduction of a system of ethnic equality monitoring, actions and awareness raising on hate crime and adequate human rights-based training of all public officials, including judicial officers.

The State is expected to provide a mid-term report by July 2025 regarding progress with implementing selected recommendations, including in relation to implementing actions regarding non-discrimination, hate speech and hate crime.

Meanwhile the High Commissioner has requested for the State to report on progress in implementing these recommendations by 2024. 

Submission by a coalition of Traveller and Organisations can be found here

Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee under the Convention on Civil and Political Rights can be found here.