“The Committee is concerned about perceptions in society stigmatizing persons with disabilities as living a life of less value and the termination of pregnancy at any stage on the basis of foetal impairment. The Committee recommends that the State party changes abortion law accordingly.”
This is the third part in a series focused on Ireland, the United Nations and abortion, explaining why the pro-choice argument that international law requires Ireland to introduce abortion is based on an incorrect interpretation of that international law. In previous posts, we have discussed the work of the Human Rights Committee (HRC) and the role of customary international law.
Our previous post on this topic discussed the less-than-respectable qualifications of the UN Human Rights Committee, ending with the question as to whether, even if the HRC is a complete mess of an institution, it still got it right on the Irish abortion question. It didn’t. One reason for this relates to the sources of international law.
The HRC has arrived at some well-reasoned views, but also some pretty dreadful ones: the string of Jamaican death row cases are good examples, as is the Libyan debacle. In 1995, Libya entered a short and dishonest report on its ICCPR progress, just after the dictator Mu’ammer Gaddafi had ordered the assassination of Libyan dissidents living abroad. The HRC issued its verdict three years later, complimenting Libya on its treatment of women and expressing only polite concern at the murder and torture of the regime’s opponents and at the complete lack of an independent legal system.