Updates from the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) Hearing in Geneva

Pavee Point and the National Traveller Women’s Forum are representing the Traveller and Roma Coalition this week at the 4th Review of Ireland’s progress in implementing the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

At an informal briefing on Wednesday, all the points in the coalition’s Joint Alternative Report were raised and the Committee Rapporteur agreed to ensure that the Committee were informed of them.

Speaking at the briefing, Lynsey Kavanagh reiterated the need for Ireland to commit to full implementation of ethnic equality monitoring and urgent publication of the National Equality Data Strategy as required by the EU as well as ongoing collection, prompt dissemination and use of equality data for policy proofing.” This morning the Committee raised concerns about the lack of the State’s progress on disaggregated data, in particular in relation to Travellers, Roma and people with disabilities and called on Ireland to collect data to inform policy. 

Maria Joyce spoke yesterday about the importance of policy implementation and called for the rapid completion of the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy, with full involvement of Traveller organisations and groups working with Roma including an opportunity to see its provisions prior to sign off. “Traveller organisations and groups working with Roma need to be directly involved in overseeing implementation and monitoring of its impact” she said. Maria also called for urgent completion of the Traveller and Roma Education Strategy and ongoing monitoring of its impact. “It is vital that the Strategy is inclusive of timelines, targets and mainstream measures. Traveller and Roma organisations need to be centrally involved in this process.” Noting the Rapporteurs question to the State today regarding discrimination by local authorities, Maria Joyce called for particular attention to the role of local authorities in the provision of Traveller accommodation and “immediate establishment of the National Traveller Authority as recommended by the Independent Expert Group.”

Gabi Muntean spoke about the ongoing racism experienced by Travellersand Roma, and in particular the experience of Roma women following the Dublin riots in November 23rd. She called for resourcing and implementation of the National Plan Against Racism. She also called for universal child benefit in order to alleviate child poverty, in particular amongst Roma, who are also subject to the habitual residence condition, leaving many Roma families with “little to no money to live on.”She added that an urgent review is required. Gabi welcomed the Minister Joe O’Brien commitment to “do better” when it comes to Traveller and Roma rights and equality.”

This morning Anastasia Crickley welcomed the Minister’s commitment to collaboration between government and civil society and calls for strengthening of this through recognition that resourcing of independent civil society to meet needs has to be matched with the independent right to inform and shape the policies which guarantee going beyond symptoms to dealing with root causes as recommended by the Community Platform which members of the Coalition are also part of, as she commented, “NGOs are ready and able to engage with the State but this needs to go beyond consultation and to monitor implementation and impact.”

Further coverage of the review to follow, you can read our submission here.