Top Torture Expert Hits Town As Report Deadline Looms


Press release – for immediate release

Speaking in a personal capacity at an event hosted by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties today (Monday 28 May 2012) , one of the world’s leading anti-torture experts, Felice Gaer, reflected on the impact of the work of the UN Committee against Torture (UNCAT), just days before the Government faces a deadline to report to this top UN anti-torture watchdog.

Last May, UNCAT posed some tough questions to the Irish Government on issues including abortion, prison conditions, domestic violence, the asylum process, extraordinary rendition, trafficking and redress for survivors of the Magdalene laundries.

A year later, Ireland faces a UN deadline to report on progress in improving its record on these, and other, pressing human rights concerns.

Ms Gaer said:

“International action to combat torture and ill-treatment will never be fully effective until national protections, including strong monitoring mechanisms, are in place and operational. These not only complement the work of international treaty bodies, such as the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT), they can actually reduce our work.  I am delighted to be here in Dublin, in a personal capacity, exactly a year after Ireland first appeared before CAT and greatly looking forward to hearing about measures that the State has taken towards the creation of a comprehensive and effective national system to prevent ill-treatment in all its forms”

Mr Kelly, ICCL Director said:

"Ireland has learned painful lessons about the consequences of failing to prevent the ill-treatment of vulnerable people by those in positions of power. However, the State has yet to put in place the full range of national monitoring mechanisms required to comply with its international human rights obligations. The creation of an effective national mechanism to prevent ill-treatment recurring in future should be an immediate priority".

For more information, and to arrange interviews with participants, please contact:

Walter Jayawardene

Communications Manager

Irish Council for Civil Liberties

9-13 Blackhall Place

Dublin 7

Tel. + 353 1 799 4504

Mob: +353 87 998157



  • The event, Preventing Ill-Treatment and Securing Accountability: The Impact in Ireland of the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) took place from 2pm-4pm on Monday 28 May 2012 in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8
  • Collins Photo will be filing photographs of the conference to photodesks.
  • Twitter hashtag: #ICCLUNCAT
  • The Event will be live-streamed on the ICCL hompage, and on the Human Rights in Ireland Blog, This will be available for playback and video files provided on request.
  • The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is Ireland’s leading independent human rights watchdog, which monitors, educates and campaigns in order to secure full enjoyment of human rights for everyone. The ICCL is an entirely independent organisation and does not rely on government support or funding. Founded in 1976 by Mary Robinson and others, the ICCL has played a leading role in some of Ireland’s most successful human rights campaigns. These have included campaigns to establish an independent Garda Ombudsman Commission, legalise the right to divorce, secure more effective protection of children’s rights, decriminalise homosexuality and introduce enhanced equality legislation. Since 1976 the ICCL has tirelessly lobbied the State to ensure the full implementation in Ireland of international human rights standards.
  • Felice Gaer is the Director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights. She is the Vice Chair of the United Nations Committee against Torture and has been the first American to serve as an independent expert on that treaty monitoring body. From 2001-2012, Ms. Gaer was repeatedly appointed to the bipartisan federal U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on which she has served three terms as Chair.  She was a public member of U.S. delegations to the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, the Beijing World Conference on Women, and other multilateral human rights negotiations. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she was Regents Professor at UCLA in 2010, and recipient of the First Freedom Center’s National Religious Freedom Award. In 2012, she was appointed to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. She is currently the chair of the Leo Nevas Task Force on Human Rights of the United Nations Association of the USA. Ms. Gaer is the author of more than 40 articles on international human rights. In addition, she has been active in ensuring that women’s rights are addressed as human rights, and that violence against women, including rape, has been addressed effectively by UN human rights bodies.
  • Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) is a non-profit, all-volunteer organisation which seeks to respectfully promote equality and advocate for justice and support for the women formerly incarcerated in Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries. JFM’s core coordinating committee, which has been working on this issue in an advocacy capacity for over twelve years, includes several daughters of women who were in Magdalene Laundries, some of whom are also adoption rights activists. JFM also has a very active advisory committee, comprised of academics, legal scholars, politicians, and survivors of child abuse.


Bookmark and Share
Web Design By Marlton Media