From the Mediterranean to the Emerald Isle: Ireland’s Role in Upholding the Rights of Refugees and Asylum Seekers

MedNancy Roe is a Social Work and Masters Graduate from Trinity College Dublin (TCD). Graduating with a BSS in Social Work, she went on to complete a Masters in Race Ethnicity and Conflict (TCD) in 2014. She has since worked as a Social Worker and as an Intern with the Irish Refugee Council. This short reflection was written during this Internship.

Every day, refugees flee war, poverty and persecution and make long dangerous voyages over sea, often on make-shift boats, smuggled below deck, in the hope of reaching safety in Europe.

The recent refugee humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean has received much media coverage. The exposure of the atrocities in the Mediterranean (20 April 2015), where 800 refugees died, men, women and children, including Syrians, Eritreans and Somalia’s, has generated a platform for discussion, whereby Europe’s borders, policies and humanitarian responses are under scrutiny on the international stage. UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards noted that approximately 1,300 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean in the month of April alone (the total figure this year is approximately 1,776).

Political leaders and representatives in Europe, and elsewhere around the world are being forced to publicly address the issue. Irish President, Michael D Higgins condemned the European response to the crisis. He suggested that we can have a generous Europe based on human values, or one that has within its borders, racism, xenophobia and exclusion.

Two days after this atrocity, Mr Higgins visited Turkey and Lebanon, attending the 100th anniversary commemorations of Gallipoli. Reflecting upon the deaths and victims of World War I, Mr Higgins described “the enormous tragedy of war” as being “linked to “the outrageous aspirations of empire”. He also stated that the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East were still trapped by the “detritus of empire”. A hundred year after Gallipoli, clear parallels can be drawn with regards to the value and respect placed on human life across borders.

Shane O’ Curry, Director of ENAR Ireland advises that the crisis did not begin with the deaths in the Mediterranean, rather “that this crisis is borne out of years of instability in sub-Saharan Africa, north Africa and the Middle East, instability for which some EU countries bear significant responsibility”. O’ Curry urges the Taoiseach in his discussions with other European leaders to show leadership, offer concrete responses, and (quoting Amnesty International) to put people before borders. Continue reading “From the Mediterranean to the Emerald Isle: Ireland’s Role in Upholding the Rights of Refugees and Asylum Seekers”

From the Mediterranean to the Emerald Isle: Ireland’s Role in Upholding the Rights of Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Irish Journal of European Law: Call for Papers

IJELThe Irish Society for European Law recently re-launched the Irish Journal of European Law as an e-journal. The Journal, which has been published since 1992, is a leading international journal on European law edited by Irish scholars and practitioners. The 2014 volume is now available on the Society’s website here.

The Journal – which is blind peer-reviewed – is now issuing a call for original papers for its 2015 volume.

Long articles (indicative length 8,000 – 12,000 words) and shorter articles (3,000-4,000 words), and analyses of any length of recent developments are invited.  While submissions on Irish-European legal issues are of special interest, the Journal welcomes submissions on all areas of European law. In addition to the more traditional form of academic article, comment and opinion pieces on European-Irish affairs with a legal dimension, are also welcomed.

Submissions are to be sent to ijel.submissions@gmail.com by Friday 15th May 2015 in WORD format, size 12 font, single-spaced. The referencing style guide is OSCOLA Ireland, which is available online here.

Irish Journal of European Law: Call for Papers

Law, Dignity & Socio-Economic Rights: The Case of Asylum Seekers in Europe

EuropeBelow are my speaking notes for the  European Database on Asylum Law (EDAL) conference, Reflections on the Current Application of the EU Asylum Acquis. My full paper can be accessed here: “Law, Dignity & Socio-Economic Rights: The Case of Asylum Seekers in Europe“. My very brief slides  for this presentation are available here:  Law Dignity & SER Asylum Seekers.

The treatment of aliens…has become a defining challenge to an important aspect of the moral identity of the emerging European polity and the process of European integration.[1]

Introduction 

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to Aoife and all at the European Database of Asylum Law for this invite, and congratulate EDAL and the Irish Refugee Council for such a stimulating and challenging conference over the last two days. All I can do over the next 15 or so minutes is present to you a skeleton of my arguments, as regards the protection of the socio-economic rights of asylum seekers.  The full  paper is available here:  Law, Dignity and Socio-Economic Rights: The Case of Asylum Seekers in Europe.

Definitions 

My use of the terms ‘asylum seeker’ and socio-economic rights are deliberate. The phrase asylum seeker, properly communicates the process of fleeing for protection, but awaiting determination of the protection application within the receiving state. This includes application for recognition of refugee, subsidiary protection or other human rights protection status. The phrase socio-economic rights includes those human rights protected under international and European human rights law, that recognises the right to social security; right to work; right to an adequate standard of living; right to education; right to shelter etc. I shy away from the language of ‘reception conditions’, I feel that language seeks to separate ‘us’ and ‘them’ and seeks to make it seem wholly natural and automatic that fundamental social rights be differentiated on the basis of legal status.

The Core Argument 

Now that we have definitions out of the way, the key argument of my paper is this: In spite of the plurality of legal regimes that protect, to some extent the socio-economic rights of asylum seekers, the end result of this legal plurality, has been to deny asylum seekers access to mainstream social supports that are considered fundamental to ensuring all those within a state can enjoy a minimum, if basic, standard of living.

WE might disagree as to whether citizenship or nationality or residence should form a coherent basis for distinguishing socio-economic rights between asylum seekers or citizens or other residents. However, international and European human rights law has not yet been so definitive, despite the exhaustive plurality of legal measures. In fact, as I will seek to now trace: the status of asylum seeker still seems to permit fundamental differentiation between asylum seekers and say citizens or residents. So, asylum seekers DO NOT under international and European human rights law enjoy all the rights that citizens or permitted residents in a State enjoy. However, given the cosmopolitan promise of human rights, contestations exist in this area, and the issue is not overly clear cut.

Legal Plurality & the Socio-Economic Rights of Asylum Seekers 

International human rights law: While human rights seek to protect the weak, marginalised and vulnerable, there is often a presupposition amongst Continue reading “Law, Dignity & Socio-Economic Rights: The Case of Asylum Seekers in Europe”

Law, Dignity & Socio-Economic Rights: The Case of Asylum Seekers in Europe

Conference on the Future Role of the European Union Structural funds to Advance Community Living for Older People and People with Disabilities

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at National University of Ireland, Galway will run a conference on the 3rd of May 2013.   The title of the conference will be ‘Community Living for all’ – A Conference on the Future Role of the European Union Structural funds to Advance Community Living for Older People and People with Disabilities’. It will be ‘an event in association with the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU’ which is appropriate given that a stated priority of Ireland’s EU Presidency will be to finalise agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) that will determine the EU budget from 2014-2020 and therefore cohesion funding.  The event is jointly directed by Senator Katherine Zappone, member of the Senate of Ireland and the Centre for Disability Law & Policy directed by Professor Gerard Quinn. 
The conference is open to all interested in the development of positive EU social policy in the fields of ageing and disability. 

The speakers are drawn from a variety of EU-level institutions and others including the European Commission, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, the European Group of National Human Rights Institutions, the United States Federal Administration for Community Living.  European level civil society groups will be represented by the European Disability Forum and Age Platform Europe.  The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (European Region) will also be represented.  The growing role of European philanthropy in achieving community living will be represented by the European Foundation Centre. 

The conference will be opened by the Irish Minister for Older People, People with Disabilities, Mental Health and Equality – Kathleen Lynch, T.D.  More details on the conference and registration is available here.


Conference on the Future Role of the European Union Structural funds to Advance Community Living for Older People and People with Disabilities

Symposium "Privacy from Birth to Death and Beyond: European and American Perspectives"

The LL.M. in Public Law and the LL.M. in Law, Technology and Governance at the School of Law, National University of Ireland Galway will run a half day symposium on 8 March 2013 in Galway.  The title of the symposium “Privacy from Birth to Death and Beyond: European and American Perspectives”. The speakers include Mr. José Maria Baño  who will give a paper on the “ECJ “The Right to be Forgotten” reference”.  Professor Joshua Fairfield from the Washington and Lee University School of Law who is currently in Europe on a Fulbright scholarship will give a paper entitled “Do-Not-Track as Default: Transaction Costs in U.S. Consumer Privacy”. Mr. Damien McCallig an Irish Research Council Scholar at the School of Law NUI Galway will give a paper on the concept of privacy after death.  Dr. Sharon McLaughlin from Letterkenny Institute of Technology who is a member of the EU Kids Online Network will give a paper entitled “Children & Privacy: Protection v. Participation – A Tangled Web” . Paul Lambert a solicitor with Merrion Solicitors will give a paper that explores privacy in legal practice across of issues including cyberbullying, defamation, and data protection. Dr. Ciara Hackett from the School of Law Queens University Belfast  will deliver a Rapporteur’s Report on the proceedings of the conference.  For more information and to register for the conference please see here.  The conference fee is €50 to attend, there is a discounted rate of €25 for early career practitioners (5 years or less) and free for students or unwaged.

 

Symposium "Privacy from Birth to Death and Beyond: European and American Perspectives"

The purpose of the Nobel Prize

Over recent years I have become increasingly skeptical regarding the Nobel Peace Prize. As blog posts over the past several awards evidence, my growing disillusionment is mainly directed at the choices of laureate that the Committee have made. With the exception of Liu Xiaobo in 2010, there appears to be no particular purpose, vision or aim connected to the prize itself and the legitimacy that is attached to its laureates. The recent award of the prize to the EU has again raised questions regarding the underlying rationale of the prize and matching winners to this purpose.

The oft-repeated claim that satire became moot when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel peace prize alongside Le Duc Tho in 1973, suggests that questions on the choice of laureate have long been controversial. Indeed, Le Duc Tho declined to accept the award, with some credibility, in protest of the violation, by Kissinger, of the truce for which they were winning the prize.  Kissinger stated in his acceptance speech with the following statement; Continue reading “The purpose of the Nobel Prize”

The purpose of the Nobel Prize

Law Society of Ireland & IHRC Annual Human Rights Conference

This October, the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) and the Law Society of Ireland will host the 10th Annual Human Rights Conference, Promoting and Protecting Human Rights in Ireland: The Role of the Irish Constitution and European Law.  The conference will examine the impact of the Irish Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and EU law in advancing human rights protection in Ireland. The role of Irish courts, quasi-judicial and administrative bodies will also be considered. When: Saturday, 13th October, 2012, 10:00- 14:30pm – Where: The Presidents’ Hall, Law Society of Ireland, Blackhall Place, Dublin 7 – Fee: There is no charge for this event. Booking: While attendance at the Conference is free, it is important to book your place as space is limited, by emailing: humanrightsconference@lawsociety.ie

Speakers include:

  • Mr. Justice William McKechnie, Supreme Court,
  • Ms. Justice Mary Laffoy, High Court,
  • Dr. Síofra O’Leary, Court of Justice of the EU and Visiting Professor at the College of Europe,
  • Mr. Michael O’Boyle, Deputy Registrar, European Court of Human Rights,
  • Dr. Hannes Krämer, Legal Service, European Commission,
  • Ms. Emily O’Reilly, Ombudsman, Ms. Emily Logan, Ombudsman for Children,
  • Ms. Barbara Nolan, Head of EC Representation in Ireland,
  • Mr. Gerry Durcan SC,
  • Dr. Dympna Glendenning BL,
  • Mr. Mark Lynam BL,
  • Mr. James MacGuill, MacGuill Solicitors,
  • Mr. Des Hogan, IHRC,
  • Ms. Sinead Lucey, IHRC,
  • Ms. Anna Austin, European Court of Human Rights,
  • Mr. Patrick Dillon-Malone BL,
  • Dr. Suzanne Kingston BL, UCD,
  • Ms. Síle Larkin, the Equality Tribunal and
  • Mr. Kieran Fitzgerald, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.


Law Society of Ireland & IHRC Annual Human Rights Conference

Floundering attempts at peace in Syria

The Security Council’s mandate in Syria has come to an end and while a UN liaison office will remain in the country, all the peace observers have vacated their mission. Coupled with Kofi Annan’s decision to end his role as envoy of the UN and Arab League, this pull out  suggests that the international institutional and legal machinery has failed to either bring the violence to an end or to restrain both sides of the conflict from descending into ever-more vicious attacks, leaving the Syrian population to their own ends. The various blog posts on Syria chronicle the most violent iteration of the Arab Spring and presents a litany of failures both by the parties within Syria but also the various institutions and states who have been aiming to end the conflict or, at the very least, ameliorate the suffering of the Syrians.

Several rationales can be given for why international action in Syria failed while in Libya, it comparatively succeeded, and these explanations are not simply based upon Russian and Chinese intransigence at the Security Council. First, there was the relatively slow reaction of those outside Syria to the growing protests. Continue reading “Floundering attempts at peace in Syria”

Floundering attempts at peace in Syria

Book Publication: EU Counter-Terrorism Law

Some readers may be interested in the recent publication of my monograph, EU Counter-Terrorism Law: Pre-emption & the Rule of Law. The book is the first sustained study of EU legislation in the field of counter-terrorism. It critically examines EU counter-terrorism measures to ascertain how rule of law principles have been affected in the ‘war on terror’. The book opens with an overview of the “war on terror”. It notes that the trend in both the UK and US

has been towards pre-emptive intervention that attempts to eliminate threats to national security before they arise. Building on twentieth-century ideas of risk and actuarial justice, these trends undermine traditional legal protections by shifting the target of law enforcement from acts already committed to action that may be committed in the future.

The book seeks to assess how these developments have had an impact on the rule of law. It develops a critical understanding of the EU rule of law and then goes on to analyse five key facets of EU counter-terrorism: Continue reading “Book Publication: EU Counter-Terrorism Law”

Book Publication: EU Counter-Terrorism Law

Syria and International Action

The recent events in Houla have, yet again, put Syria front and centre of news reports. Over recent months we have featured posts on Syria here, here, here and here but as the situation disintegrates and fears regarding a sectarian civil war rise, this post discusses, with a particular focus on the Security Council, what the options are from an international legal perspective .

First, clearly the Security Council, with few exceptions, holds all the cards with regard to any use of force and thus makes any decision to act reliant on the agreement of the permanent five member states. Article 2 (1) and 2(4) of the UN Charter which guarantees both the sovereignty equality of states and prohibits the use of force appears to be the basis on which Russia, and also though with lesser fanfare China, is refusing to back any action, either short of or the use of force, by the UN. Russia’s continued insistence that Syria be allowed to control its own affairs has led to the United States’ alleging  that they are contributing to a possible civil war.

The descent into further violence raises questions of whether Syria has already spiralled into an internal armed conflict. The Syrian Government has continuously used the language of terrorism, perhaps with the attempt of not recognising the Free Syrian Army and thus maintaining the conflict on the level of civil disobedience and not humanitarian law. The invocation of humanitarian law would have serious consequences for the conflict, including the raising of responsibilities,  not only the Syrian Government but also the Free Syrian Army, to comply with laws of war. Continue reading “Syria and International Action”

Syria and International Action