Minority Rights Summer School Highlights Plight of the Rohingyas

I was the organiser for this year’s Minority Rights Summer School, held at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, from 13th-17th June. It was the eleventh year of the School, which always attracts an interesting group of academics, students, activists and lobbyists, as well as those with a general interest in minority and indigenous rights and the role of human rights law in promoting equality and diversity. The programme this year saw a range of speakers, including a full day of sessions dedicated to a forum on indigenous peoples’ rights with contributions from scholars and practitioners. Continue reading “Minority Rights Summer School Highlights Plight of the Rohingyas”

Minority Rights Summer School Highlights Plight of the Rohingyas

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination & Ireland

March 21st marks the dedicated International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This year has a special focus on eliminating discrimination against those of African descent. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban-Ki-moon has stated that those of African descent continue to suffer from the most pernicious forms of racial discrimination and the effects of the transatlantic slave trade continue to persist today. March 21st to 27th also marks European Week Against Racism.

Closer to home, Ireland’s third and fourth reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination were recently examined. (NGO and  civil society shadow reports can be accessed here). The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is made up of individual experts (appointed by the UN General Assembly) who monitor states compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).  While Ireland signed CERD in 1968, only in 2000 did it ratify this convention making it applicable upon Ireland at an international level. For a variety of reasons, relating to the Irish Constitution and judicial interpretation, Continue reading “International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination & Ireland”

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination & Ireland

South Park: 'Religious Defamation', Freedom of Expression & Human Rights

Spoiler AlertThis post contains some  spoilers to the South Park episodes “200” and “201”. In Ireland and the United Kingdom South Park airs on Comedy Central. Comedy Central has not aired the episode “201” in Ireland or the United Kingdom. The episode “201” has been uploaded (illegally) onto a variety of sites.

HRinI has discussed extensively  the issue of criminal blasphemy in Ireland, over the last few months, see, here, here, here, here, here and here. Contributors to these posts noted Ireland’s hypocrisy on the issue, and the threats which this legislation posed to freedom of expression. The popular Comedy Central show South Park celebrated its 200th episode recently. In typical South Park fashion it dealt with number of pressing (and not so pressing) issues. A central focus of both the 200th and 201st episodes (as it was in the episodes Cartoon Wars: Part I and Cartoon Wars: Part II) revolved around the religious prophet Muhammad and the controversy regarding depicting him in human form. A number of groups who did not want to be ridiculed (celebrities and persons with red hair),  sought Muhammad’s ‘goo’ which they believed would  make them impervious from public ridicule or criticism.  In the South Park Universe, Muhammad is part of the Super Best Friends, a group of religious figures (plus one) who help those in need. The group consists of Jesus Christ, Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, Joseph Smith, Lao Tzu, Moses and a character called Sea Man. The Super Best Friends were introduced to the South Park Universe in 2001, and as the picture to the side shows, there was no controversy for depicting an image of Muhammad (to the right of Jesus). However, with the publication of the Danish Cartoons and the resulting violence (see here, here, here, and to view the controversial cartoons see here), Comedy Central refused to air the image of Muhammad. Continue reading “South Park: 'Religious Defamation', Freedom of Expression & Human Rights”

South Park: 'Religious Defamation', Freedom of Expression & Human Rights