#DirectProvision15: Direct Provision and the European Convention on Human Rights

DP15_logoThis guest post is from Lisa-Marie Salley. You can download a copy of Lisa-Marie’s MSc dissertation on direct provision and the ECHR here:Thesis.

The system of direct provision shows the extent to which the Irish state is failing to live up to its human rights obligations. As a part of my M.Sc. in Human Rights I have attempted to add to the literature that seeks to show the extent to which the existence of the system of direct provision is resulting in violations of the European Convention on Human Rights. It is clear that there is a lack of literature on direct provision through this particular prospective despite the convention being transposed into Irish law since 2003. The convention and the ECtHR are an example of a platform that may allow the residents of direct provision to get justice if all domestic remedies continue to fail. Therefore, as the court is a subsidiary body that only allows cases to be brought to Strasbourg when the domestic remedies of the country have been exhausted, the more the Irish judicial system fails to notice direct provision as a violation of the ECHR the more likely it is for a case to be brought to the court. Furthermore, given the recent judgment of O’Keefe v Ireland wherein the court found the Irish state to be in violation of the defendants’ rights under the convention despite the State arguing that they were not in control of the school in which the woman was abused. The court reasoned that the state has a responsibility to ensure the rights of all those within its territory. For this reason in a possible future case against direct provision residents the state could not argue that they were not in control of the direct provision centers and what happened within them due to the fact that they are privately run. Furthermore, the recent development of the CEAS (Common European Asylum System) and the receptions directive that is now enforce means that although traditionally the court would not involve itself in issues regarding the reception of asylum seekers due to the fact that no consensus existed on the issue, the CEAS means that the consensus now exists and Ireland (along with Denmark) has opted out of the receptions directive which means it lies outside the newly formed consensus. Continue reading “#DirectProvision15: Direct Provision and the European Convention on Human Rights”

#DirectProvision15: Direct Provision and the European Convention on Human Rights

#DirectProvision15: Examining Direct Provision

DP15_logoRichard O’ Mahony is a Film and Broadcasting student in DIT Aungier St. He is currently making a 20 minute radio piece for ending Direct Provision which will be finished next month. In this interview, Richard discusses the system of direct provision with Lassane Ouedraogo. Lassane is a former asylum seeker who had lived in direct provision for many years and speaks out about his experience.

 

#DirectProvision15: Examining Direct Provision

Direct Provision, Local Elections and Political Campaigning

RIAThere has been some developments in the last few hours as regards local election candidates and political campaigning in direct provision centres.  On April 23, Noel Dowling of the Reception and Integration Agency issued Circular 1/14 to all direct provision centre managers [see here: RIA Circular 1-14 of 23 April 2014] noting that there can be no display or distribution of party political leaflets, posters or circulars to residents. This did not prevent addressed literature from being delivered to residents.

On May 14 2014, Noel Dowling of the Reception and Integration Agency issued Circular 2/14 to all direct provision centre managers. This circular varies Circular 1/14 of April 2014 in one important respect:

Candidates who call into centres may be allowed to drop off election leaflets to bve picked up and read by residents if they wish. This material may be left in a suitable designated area of the centre such as the reception desk. Candidates may, if they wish, place on their leaflets their contact details or details of political meetings outside the centre to which residents can be invited.

You can see this full circular here: RIA Circular 2-14 of 14 May 2014

While this still denies asylum seekers the right to be canvassed by candidates for the local election in direct provision centres, at the very least it allows some information to be provided to asylum seekers in direct provision centres. Issues remain with this, I would argue that such a blanket ban on allowing asylum seekers receive (if they wish) election candidates is a disproportionate violation of freedom of expression  as protected under the Irish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003. This development is due to KOD Lyons who had made representations on behalf of a client. A local election candidate in Cork, Donnchadha O’ Laoghaire (Sinn Fein), had brought the issue to national attention earlier this week. NASC, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre and the Immigrant Council of Ireland  noted the significant legal issues with the previous all encompassing ban on direct provision centres as “politically neutral” zones.

NASC, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre, has cautiously welcomed this development, stating:

RIA have stopped short of allowing canvassing in the centres. We continue to be concerned that the ban on canvassing essentially remains in place. It has to be noted that the Direct Provision Centres are the homes of asylum seekers whilst they are awaiting an outcome of their application.

 

Direct Provision, Local Elections and Political Campaigning