Bradshaw calls for UK Government to meet international obligations on abortion access and violence against women in Northern Ireland

South Belfast MLA Paula Bradshaw has said the case for action by the Secretary of State to enable access to abortion for women in Northern Ireland is unanswerable.

Ms Bradshaw was speaking after the publication of the concluding observations on the eighth periodic report of the UK from the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

She said: “The headline from the report will understandably be the requirements under international human rights obligations that women’s rights to accessing abortion services in Northern Ireland must be legislated for by the UK Government under Article 33 of the 1998 Agreement. That has my strong personal support.

“Paragraph 28 of the report on the concluding observations also refers to policy gaps in tackling violence against women and girls. In the absence of functioning devolved structures, this would also require action from the UK Government to extend the Domestic Abuse Bill currently being consulted upon to cover Northern Ireland as well as England and Wales. Again, as freedom from discrimination, violence and intimidation is a basic human right, there is a requirement for the UK Government to act if the Northern Ireland Executive cannot or does not.

“Clearly, it would be optimal to see those elected here getting on with meeting these responsibilities and obligations on behalf of women in Northern Ireland. However, with little prospect of that, in my view it is clearly time for the UK Government to take the straightforward and decisive action necessary to meet its obligations on women’s rights.”

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