Stop and Search certainly was the hot human rights news story of last summer within the UK. Schedule 7 powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 allow for extended powers to stop and search, and even detain for up to nine hours individuals in the context of ports and airports, for the purpose of assessing whether they are linked to terrorism. That police powers should be extensive in this context might be thought relatively uncontroversial. After all, the potential to trap hostages in such a confined space was attractive to terrorist groups long before the 9/11 attacks displayed the potential of using civilian airliners as weapons. Continue reading “Pushing Their Luck? UK Counter-Terrorism Powers and David Miranda”
The Edward Snowden Affair tells us much about how the role of intelligence agencies, and legal oversight of their activities, has changed in the 21st century. Some, like Professor Douwe Korff, writing in The Guardian, maintain that the ECHR will provide a legal solution to the questionable activities highlighted by Snowden; ‘under the ECHR the UK has a duty to prevent its US friends like the NSA from spying on the data and communications of British and other individuals. In fact, it does the opposite, and facilitates such access – again in flagrant breach of its ECHR obligations.’ This post examines whether we can indeed put our faith in the Convention when it comes to state surveillance. Continue reading “Edward Snowden, The European Convention on Human Rights and State Surveillance”
It has been reported in the media this morning that Edward Snowden has “applied for” asylum in Ireland, along with applications to 19 other countries (see here, here, here and here). However, as is clear from a reading of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended), Mr Snowden has not made any such application for asylum in Ireland. Leaving aside the issue of whether Snowden qualifies as a person in need of refugee or subsidiary protection, to apply for asylum in Ireland, Section 8(1) of the 1996 Act states:
A person who arrives at the frontiers of the State seeking asylum in the State or seeking the protection of the State against persecution or requesting not to be returned or removed to a particular country…. [emphasis added]
As Snowden has not arrived at the frontiers of the State, he is unable to make an application for asylum/protection in Ireland. Unlike Ecuador, an individual cannot make an asylum claim at an Irish embassy (be it in Russia or elsewhere). If Snowden was to (somehow!) make it to Ireland and made an application for refugee or subsidiary protection at the frontiers of the State, the United States has not been designated a safe country of origin, so Mr Snowden’s asylum and/or subsidiary protection claim would have to be dealt with under the legal framework of the 1996 Act and 2006 Regulations. Given the low rate of acceptance of refugee and subsidiary protection claims in Ireland, as well as the direct provision system in place, Mr Snowden might want to think twice about making any such journey to Ireland.
Update 16:35pm 20/07/2013: The Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) confirms that applications for asylum cannot be made outside of Ireland. However, the Taoiseach also stated that if Snowden did apply for asylum in Ireland, it would be dealt with under Irish law.