The Irish government should “strongly challenge” a false interpretation of human rights conventions that considers abortion and “gay marriage” to be rights, analyst David Quinn says.
“Instead of accepting at face value that the interpretation of U.N. conventions by U.N. committees is authoritative either in international or in Irish law, Ireland should instead strongly challenge those committees where their interpretations depart from both the text and the spirit of the various treaties,” said Quinn, director of the Dublin-based Iona Institute.
In October Ireland will go before the U.N. Human Rights Council to report on its conformity to the various U.N. human rights conventions and treaties the Irish State has signed. Its report has become publicly available.
Rather than defend the country’s current constitutional position on the right to life, the report tells the counsel that it is reviewing the law in light of the European Court of Human Rights decision in the ABC abortion case. Quinn criticized this comment, noting that the decision was “non-binding.”
In the case of ABC vs. Ireland, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Ireland's abortion ban breached the rights of a woman after she had to leave the country in order to procure an abortion. The woman had a rare form of cancer that she believed could resurface during her pregnancy.
Quinn also sees other problems in the report.
“Rather than defend the current constitutional definition of marriage, it tells the Council that a constitutional convention established by the Government is to look into the issue of same-sex marriage,” he said.
The report also “boasts” about the number of official documents that accommodate gender reassignment surgery.
“Rather than challenge the conventional wisdom on ‘gender equality’ (namely that as many women as possible must be in the workplace and as many young children as possible in daycare), it parrots this wisdom,” Quinn continued. “It should instead have said the government is neutral between home and work and therefore doesn’t favor one choice over the other.”
U.N. human rights documents are largely “sensible and uncontroversial.”
“They do not bear many of the interpretations currently being forced upon them,” Quinn said. “(I)n no way, shape or form do they recognize a right to abortion, or to gay marriage, or to gender reassignment.”
As an example of the biased interpretation of international conventions, Quinn cited the U.N. Human Rights Committee’s 2008 instruction that Ireland had to ensure that its legislation is “not discriminatory of nontraditional forms of partnership” and that the state should recognize “the right of transgender position to change gender.” However, none of the convention articles quoted oblige states to do this.
Quinn said the conventions in question recognize parents as the primary educators of their children, but the Irish government’s report “makes no attempt to defend denominational schools and rather is at pains to stress that efforts are being made to reduce their numbers.”
He repeated that the Irish government should challenge the “process of misinterpretation.”