Irish Government to Provide Monetary Reparations Following Landmark United Nations Abortion Case

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(PRESS RELEASE) The Irish government intends to give compensation to Amanda Mellet following a landmark decision from the United Nations Human Rights Committee recognizing that the criminalization and prohibition of abortion violated her human rights.

Today, Ireland’s Minister of Health Simon Harris announced the government’s plan to provide Amanda Mellet 30,000 in acknowledgement of the Committee’s findings that her rights were violated. The government will also offer Ms. Mellet access to counseling services.

In its June 2016 ruling, the U.N. Committee outlined that the Irish government is obliged to provide compensation and measures of rehabilitation to Ms. Mellet for the human rights violations she endured when she had to travel out of Ireland to access abortion services. It also outlined that the government to reform its laws to legalize abortion and ensure other women do not face similar violations. The U.N. committee requested the government report within 180 days on measures taken.

Said Leah Hoctor, regional director for Europe at the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Today Amanda Mellet has received a Government response that finally acknowledges the harm she endured, as found by the U.N.

“The Government’s promise of compensation to Ms. Mellet is a hugely important and symbolic step towards recognizing the pain she suffered.

“Women’s health and well-being are put in jeopardy when they have to travel abroad for abortion services. To fully comply with the U.N. ruling and repair the wrongs Ms. Mellet experienced, the Government must ensure effective law reform takes place so no more women suffer.”

Said Amanda Mellet:

“I am immensely grateful to Minister Harris for his personal apology to me last night and offer of compensation and counselling. It goes a long way towards closure for what was the most painful chapter of my life.

“I am hopeful that ensuring the legal change outlined by the U.N. Committee will now be the Government’s next step. I personally will not feel able to move on while knowing that other women continue to have to leave this country to access reproductive health services.”

In November 2013, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a complaint on behalf of Ms. Mellet before the United Nations Human Rights Committee, arguing that Ireland’s prohibition of abortion violated her basic human rights by subjecting her to severe mental suffering and anguish.

In June 2016, the U.N. committee ruled in favor of Ms. Mellet, who was prohibited from accessing abortion in Ireland in 2011 after learning her pregnancy involved a fatal fetal impairment and found the prospect of continuing her pregnancy unbearable. She later travelled to the United Kingdom to access abortion services. In its ruling, the U.N. committee found that her rights to be free from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, to privacy and to equality before the law were violated as a result of having to travel out of Ireland to access abortion services.

The Human Rights Committee has a mechanism in place for monitoring implementation of its decisions on individual complaints. The committee will continuously scrutinize any measures taken to give effect to its decisions, or lack thereof, until it is satisfied that the state has effectively implemented all remedies it is obliged to make.

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