Professor Siobhán Mullally
By Irish Echo Staff
Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland Galway, has been appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children.
The position will focus on the human rights of victims of trafficking in persons. Professor Mullally was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, following an open competitive selection process.
According to a release, as Special Rapporteur Professor Mullally will be responsible for taking action on human rights violations committed against trafficked persons and on situations in which there has been a failure to protect their human rights and to take effective preventive action.
She will undertake country visits in order to study the situation in situ and formulate recommendations to prevent and/or combat trafficking, and protect the human rights of victims of trafficking in specific countries and/or regions, and will also submit annual reports to the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. She will also present to the UN Security Council on the links between human trafficking and armed conflict.
Special Rapporteurs are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights, and are a central element of the United Nations human rights machinery.
Professor Mullally said: "Human Trafficking is a serious violation of human rights, often targeting people living in poverty, victims of discrimination, and people fleeing situations of armed conflict or persecution.
"COVID-19 has limited access to critical support services for victims of trafficking, and deflected resources away from preventive action. Closures of borders and limited access to safe, regular migration, combined with increases in unemployment and poverty, all increase risks of sexual, labour and other forms of exploitation. Children who are increasingly in online environments and not attending school regularly, are particularly at risk of trafficking.
"It is critical now that effective protection measures are taken to vindicate the human rights of victims of trafficking, and that Governments and the international community take seriously their obligations to prevent human trafficking."
Professor Mullally was previously a member and President of the Council of Europe monitoring body, the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Persons.
She is a member of the National Group of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague. In 2009-19, she was a Fulbright Scholar and Senior fellow in residence at the Gender and Sexuality Law Center at Columbia University in New York.
She has also held visiting positions at Harvard Human Rights Program, Cornell Law School, National Law School of India University and University of Peshawar.
Mullally served as a Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission from 2014-19 and Chairperson of the Irish Refugee Council 2006-8. She has undertaken human rights advisory roles in many parts of the world, in conflict and post-conflict settings, working with UN bodies and civil society organizations. She has published widely in the fields of gender and human rights, migration and refugee protection.