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Government confirms invitation to UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence to visit Ireland in relation to Mother and Baby Home issues


Tuesday 1st May, 2018

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr. Katherine Zappone T.D. and the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Simon Coveney T.D., today confirmed that the Irish Government has issued an invitation to Mr. Fabian Salvioli, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, to visit Ireland. Mr. Salvioli has recently been appointed as a successor to Mr. Pablo de Greiff in this role.

Notwithstanding Ireland’s standing invitation to all thematic special procedures holders, the Government decided to extend an invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence to visit Ireland to consider the State’s response to the legacy of former Mother and Baby homes and to examine the progress being made on these matters. 

Confirming the invitation the Tánaiste stated: ‘Ireland recognises that the system of Special Procedures is a central element of the UN Human Rights machinery and we value the contribution of the independent human rights experts who hold mandates from the Human Rights Council to report and advice on human rights from a thematic or country specific perspective.’ 

The Government believes that Mr. Fabian Salvioli could provide valuable assistance in responding to the issues relating to mother and baby homes.  A visit from the UN Special Rapporteur could also provide vital insight into the relationship between international human rights standards and the everyday lives of Ireland’s citizens.

Minister Zappone added: ‘I am very conscious that experiences relating to Mother and Baby Homes have resulted in pain and distress for many people in Ireland and abroad, most especially among former residents of these Homes and their relatives.  The Irish Government is determined to reveal the history of these Homes, to establish the facts of what happened to vulnerable women and children in them and to provide support to former residents of the Homes. Ireland is proud of its record in the promotion of human rights globally. We believe that we, like all States, should be accountable for compliance with our obligations under international human rights instruments".

Ireland’s recognition of the importance of the UN Special Procedures is being given practical expression by the upcoming visit by Ms Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children, between 14 and 21 May 2018.  The Department of Children and Youth Affairs will be an important partner in the visit given that the focus of her work relates to children.  Minister Zappone will meet the UN Special Rapporteur in the course of her visit.  The Independent Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes has also agreed to meet the Special Rapporteur during her visit.