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Submission to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review on Human Rights 2011

This submission by Transparency International (TI) Ireland to the Universal Periodic Review focused on a number of overlapping issues related to human rights and good governance. It highlighted the unique relationship between the two, in that good governance leads to better fulfilment of human rights and many of the tools for promoting good governance are human rights in themselves.

By preventing corruption, human rights can be fulfilled. With adequate access to information and whistleblower protection, citizens have the ability to hold their governments to account, to ensure that public funds are being devoted to the best interest of the public, and to expose or prevent risky activity in the private sector that could harm the general public.

The right to access and share information is a fundamental human right in itself, as demonstrated in various international conventions: not least under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Those who blow the whistle on corrupt or reckless behaviour should not have to sacrifice their human rights in return.

The following submission highlights a number of inadequacies in the mechanisms and legal frameworks for both these issues. Most importantly, Ireland needs to make the ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents a key priority. It needs to adopt a single, comprehensive whistleblower protection law, and urgently needs to introduce a freedom of information regime that proactively shares official information with the public.