Human Rights Obligations left outstanding following publication of report, says rights watchdog

Human Rights Obligations left outstanding following publication of report, says rights watchdog


In response to the publication of the report on the Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme, the independent rights watchdog, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has noted the important human rights issues still not addressed in relation to the practice of symphysiotomy in Ireland.

 

The limited scope of this scheme forced survivors to forfeit their right to choose to access both financial redress and legal action. Anything short of a full and independent inquiry into the practice of symphysiotomy and pubiotomy in Ireland is a denial of justice. A "deed of waiver and indemnity" was obligatory for all applicants to the scheme, and required survivors not only to irrevocably waive all their rights and entitlements, but also to "indemnify and hold harmless" the people responsible for the suffering imposed upon them.  The waiver explicitly included "all doctors, consultants, obstetricians, surgeons, medical staff, midwives, nursing staff, administrative staff" as well as the "Medical Missionaries of Mary and/or any Religious Order involved in the running of any hospital".

 

The absence of an independent investigation into the practice of symphysiotomy is another example of the state’s failure to manage the legacy of abuse of women in institutions in Ireland in a fair and consistent manner. The historical indifference shown to survivors of symphysiotomy has resulted in some women still not knowing the exact procedures which were performed without consent and which have resulted, in some cases, in them spending their entire adult lives in pain.

 

In 2014,the UN Human Rights Committee recommended that “The State party should initiate a prompt, independent and thorough investigation into cases of symphysiotomy, prosecute and punish the perpetrators, including medical personnel, and provide the survivors of symphysiotomy with an effective remedy for the damage sustained, including fair and adequate compensation and rehabilitation, on an individualized basis.”

 

The ICCL is also concerned that some aspects of the report seem to undermine the credibility of women, advocates and their right to seek legal redress.

 

ENDS

 

 

Note to editor:

 •             Survivors of Symphysiotomy is the national membership group for casualties of this childbirth operation. It represents up to 400 survivors living in Ireland and abroad, ranging in age from 49 - 94.

 •             Symphysiotomy is a cruel and dangerous childbirth operation that unhinges the pelvis, severing the symphysis joint or sundering the pubic bones. Ireland was the only developed country in the world to practice these childbirth procedures in the mid to late 20th century.

 •             The current version of the Symphysiotomy redress scheme can be found at this link: http://www.payment-scheme.gov.ie/Symphyisotomy/Symphyisotomy.nsf/page/Terms%20of%20the%20Scheme%20and%20Application%20Forms-en

 

  •             The waiver of rights is set out in Schedule 1 to the scheme (at pages 38-39) and is also available directly at this link: http://www.payment-scheme.gov.ie/Symphyisotomy/Symphyisotomy.nsf/0/A8B200BE1D7D9A6880257D89003DDABA/$file/Terms%20of%20The%20Surgical%20Symphysiotomy%20Payment%20Scheme%20-%2010%20Nov%202014.pdf

 

 •             Under the terms of this waiver, the listed entities / bodies / individuals who will enjoy impunity in relation to women who accept payments includes:

 -              Ireland;

-              The Attorney General;

-              The Minister for Health;

-              The Minister of any Government Department in the State;

-              Any other organ of the State;

-              The State Claims Agency;

-              The Health Service Executive;

-              All former Health Boards in the State;

-              All local authorities in the State;

-              All hospitals, nursing homes, former hospitals or former nursing homes in the State whether public, private or    otherwise and/or their insurers;

-              All doctors, consultants, obstetricians, surgeons, medical staff, midwives, nursing staff, administrative staff, Boards of Management, associated with all hospitals or nursing homes, former hospitals or former nursing homes in the State whether public, private or otherwise and/or their insurers;

-              The Medical Defence Union and all or any of its members or former members;

-              The Medical Protection Society and all or any of its members or former members;

-              The Medical Missionaries of Mary and/or any Religious Order involved in the running of any hospital and/or their insurers.

 

•             The UN Human Rights Committee's Concluding Observations on Ireland were published on 24 July 2014 in Geneva. They are available at the UN's website at http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CCPR%2fC%2fIRL%2fCO%2f4&Lang=en

 

  •             The Human Rights Committee recommended that Ireland should initiate a prompt, independent and thorough investigation into cases of symphysiotomy, prosecute and punish the perpetrators, including medical personnel, and provide the survivors of symphysiotomy with an effective remedy for the damage sustained, including fair and adequate compensation and rehabilitation, on an individualized basis. It should facilitate access to judicial remedies by victims opting for the ex gratia scheme, including allowing them to challenge the sums offered to them under the scheme.


Bookmark and Share
Web Design By Marlton Media