Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Irish austerity measures could threaten human rights

The Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, Thomas Hammarberg, says that budget cuts planned in Ireland “may be detrimental” to the protection of human rights.

The Government has pushed through nearly €21 billion in spending cuts and tax increases, equivalent to more than 13 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). But, Hammarberg said, “it is crucial to avoid this risk, in particular regarding vulnerable groups of people.”

His comments come in a report following a recent fact-finding visit to Ireland. In the report he calls on the Irish authorities to “refrain from adopting budget cuts and staff reductions which would limit the capacity and effectiveness” of institutions designed to combat discrimination, racism, and xenophobia.

The Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg, represents both EU and non-EU states and, among other things, champions the rights of minority groups.

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