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#FirstWeds: Repealing The 8th Ammendment.

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The struggle for reproductive rights in Ireland is becoming a generation defining movement with a broad coalition demanding reform of a 32 year old piece of legislation that introduced a constitutional ban on abortion. Calls for a reform the the 8th amendment are coming from outside the island too.

Back in June of this year, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights published its concluding observations in relation to the Irish State’s record under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The 17-member committee heard from 12 NGOs and from a Government delegation led by Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Sean Sherlock at the hearings in Geneva. The committee called for a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment and for a revision of the 2013 Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, which sadly lacks clarity on what constitutes a threat to a woman’s life.

Despite this, the Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald says her main focus is on preventing crisis pregnancies, not holding a referendum on abortion – meaning the Irish state is effectively content to use the right to travel as a safety valve for those seeking an abortion in Ireland and as a reason to delay addressing the question at hand.

But what of those that cannot travel? As campaigners are increasingly quick to point out, not all women are free to travel and many, such as those on low incomes, undocumented migrants and other marginalised groups have found themselves lethally trapped by the state’s mishandling of the issue.

This Comhlámh debate brings together campaigners and activists to chat about how the 8th Amendment affects these populations disproportionately.

Among those joining us on the night will be:

Amel Yacef is the Chairperson of AkiDwA, Originally from Algeria, She has been working in the youth and the community sector for over 15 years. Her main fields of expertise are in youth health, youth participation, child protection and integration. Amel has been in a professional as well as personal capacity very active in regards to equality, equity and gender issues.

Soraya Sobrevia is a case worker in the Migrant Rights Centre Of Ireland. Soraya Sobrevia is from Spain and has lived in Dublin for nearly 8 years. She has an MA in Translation Studies from Dublin City University. She is a caseworker in the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland and an interpreter for the Independent Law Centre at the Irish Refugee Council. She has a strong commitment to interculturalism, especially issues relating to immigration and social inclusion initiatives.

Nita Mishra is currently enrolled at UCC for a PhD and is researching on the practice of rights based approaches with a focus on India. She has worked in India with international donors, NGOs, and rural communities. She is a member of the Steering Committee of Development Studies Association, Ireland, wherein she represents PG students working on development issues, and of the KDSC alumni group. She has published poetry in an Anthology of Irish Migrant Poetry, and has written research papers on development issues. She has presented papers in international conferences on the same. She has been a guest lecture on a few occasions.

Councillor Eilis Ryan will be joining us as a moderator. Éilis Ryan is a Dublin City Councillor for the Workers Party in the north inner city and a candidate in the upcoming general election in Dublin Central. She has worked on human rights and community development for ten years in Ireland and in the global south. She is a member of the trade union repeal the 8th campaign. She is also member of Comhlámh.

The discussion will be taking place in Wigwam at 7pm on Wednesday December 2nd.





If you are hungry after work then consider dropping down early and checking out Wigwam’s new food menu.



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