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United Nations: Northern Ireland abortion laws violate human rights of women

Amnesty International has welcomed a report by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women published today, which finds the United Kingdom responsible for “grave”’ and “systematic” violations of women’s rights in Northern Ireland by unduly restricting their access to abortion.

The UN body has found that restrictive abortion laws in Northern Ireland are in breach of the UK’s international human rights obligations, and called on the UK Government to change the law to decriminalise abortion and to provide greater access to abortion for women and girls in the region.

Amnesty has welcomed the findings and recommendations.

Grainne Teggart, Amnesty’s Campaigns Manager in Northern Ireland, said:

“This damning report from the United Nations confirms what Amnesty has long said - Northern Ireland’s draconian abortion laws are a daily violation of the rights of women and girls.

“The UN Committee is very clear that it is the UK Government which is responsible for ensuring that our laws are in line with the state’s international human rights obligations.

“Devolution – even if functioning – does not relieve the UK Government of their responsibility to uphold human rights in Northern Ireland.

“We call on the UK Government to introduce abortion reform legislation at Westminster without any further delay.”

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