The promotion and protection of universal human rights are at the heart of Ireland’s foreign policy. Through our aid programme we are assisting poor communities to realise their rights.
Universal human rights
Human rights are universal – for all people, in all places. The implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of other international human rights instruments make these rights a reality.
The enjoyment of all human rights, civil, cultural, economic, political and social, is essential for development. Equally, development is essential to enable the full enjoyment of those rights.
The enjoyment of all human rights, civil, cultural, economic, political and social, is essential for development.
However, the reality is that certain groups experience violations of their basic rights, especially women. The risk of rights violations is always greater where political, economic and administrative systems are weak. This can be the case in many of the countries where we work.
It is the duty of all states to protect and promote human rights. International human rights standards apply to our partner countries as well as to us. All countries, including Ireland, are assessed for their compliance with human rights standards through the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
Ireland’s recent election to the UN Human Rights Council will enable us to play an even stronger role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide.
The promotion and protection of universal human rights are an integral part of Ireland’s foreign policy and the work of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Through our aid programme, we promote and assist poor people and poor communities to realise their rights through:
- Providing access to education, health services, clean water, housing and better governance in our partner countries
- Strengthening partner countries’ institutions, government systems, parliaments, national human rights institutions, and independent media
- Supporting civil society partners who implement development programmes with a rights- based approach
- Supporting the participation and representation of poor people in the UN human rights system, in particular within the Universal Periodic Review mechanism
- Supporting the protection of human rights defenders
- Supporting the prevention of gender-based violence.
- Supporting the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Supporting the Irish Human Rights Commission for their capacity building initiative in Africa
Our assistance to strengthen systems complements Ireland’s efforts to ensure the prevention and punishment of mass human rights atrocities via the international criminal justice system and in particular the International Criminal Court.
Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Learn more about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guides our promotion of human rights around the world.
Human Rights Unit – Department of Foreign Affairs
The Human Rights Unit ensures that international human rights issues are given full attention in all aspects of Ireland’s foreign policy.
Our Governance policy
Download Building Good Governance through Development Co-operation (PDF, 183.2kb) to learn more about our policy on governance.