Human rights in Ireland

Equality Division works closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in reporting to international bodies, such as the United Nations and the Council of Europe, on how Ireland is meeting our human rights targets.

International engagement

Units in the Equality Division engage with several international organisations, including:

We engage with the European Union on fundamental rights, anti-discrimination, disability and Traveller/Roma issues.


Every four to five years, Ireland’s human rights situation is reviewed by other United Nations member states in a process called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).  Ireland’s last review took place on 11 May 2016.  Ireland’s Cycle 2 National Report was submitted to the UN in February 2016 and Ireland’s last review took place on 11 May 2016.  262 recommendations were made to Ireland by other UN Member States, and of these, 152 were accepted immediately, 13 were not accepted, and 97 recommendations were retained for further consideration.  Our responses to the outstanding 97 recommendations are set out in the Addendum to the Report of the Working Group, which was submitted to the UN on 5 September 2016.

Overall, of the 262 recommendations made to Ireland, 176 have been accepted, 45 have been partially accepted and 41 have not been accepted.

Further information, reports and updates are available on our UPR website.

We also coordinate the work needed for ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol.

On 21 October 2015, Ministers Fitzgerald and Ó Ríordáin published the Roadmap to Ratification of the UN CRPD which sets out the changes to legislation needed to overcome barriers to Ireland’s ratification of the Convention, and the estimated timeframe involved. Work is underway on drawing up an Equality/Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill to progress miscellaneous legislative amendments necessary to proceed to ratification. The General Scheme of the Equality/Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill was submitted to the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality on 20 June 2016 as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process.  A Regulatory Impact Analysis was also prepared. The Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 was published in December 2016 to progress miscellaneous legislative amendments necessary to proceed to ratification.

We contribute to Ireland’s participation in the monitoring process for the  International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Ireland ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1985 and we make periodic reports to the CEDAW Committee. We hosted a civil society consultation on the State’s response to the List of Issues under CEDAW on 19 July 2016.  A report of the issues raised at the event is available here: Report of issues raised at CEDAW consultation. Ireland’s Combined sixth and seventh periodic Report to the UN CEDAW Committee and its Annex of statistical data were submitted to the UN on 15 September 2016.  Ireland was reviewed by the CEDAW Committee on 15 February 2017.


Equality Division coordinated Ireland’s appearance before the UN Human Rights Committee under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in July 2014. As requested in the Committee’s Concluding Observations, in July 2015, Ireland provided an update on progress in specific areas.


The European Commission on Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) was established to combat violence, discrimination and prejudice faced by people or groups on the grounds of race, colour, language, religion, nationality and national or ethnic origin.

Ad Hoc Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM)

The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for National Minorities (FCNM)

The European Committee for Social Cohesion, Human Dignity and Equality (CDDECS)

The Committee of Experts on the Rights of People with Disabilities (DECS-RPD)


Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) is Ireland’s independent national human rights and equality institution.

The goal of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland.  Its founding legislation, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, provides a range of ways to address human rights and equality issues from engagement to enforcement.  IHREC aims to bring change through legal means, policy and legal advice, awareness and education, and partnerships across society.


Contact details:

Address: Equality Division
  Department of Justice
  2nd Floor, Bishop’s Square
  Redmond’s Hill
  Dublin 2
  D02 TD99
Phone (main reception): + 353 1 479-0200
Lo-Call: 1890 555-509
Fax: + 353 1 479-0296