IHRC and Law Society of Ireland 11th Annual Human Rights Conference

IHRCThe Irish Human Rights Commission and the Law Society of Ireland hold their 11th Annual Human Rights Conference this Saturday, 12th October 2013, from 10am-2pm, in the Presidents’ Hall, Law Society of Ireland, Blackhall Place, Dublin 7.

A number of themes will be examined at this conference, including:

  • Impact of Austerity on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • Balancing Freedom of Expression and Combating Hate Speech On-line
  • Reproductive Rights and Surrogacy
  • Human Rights and End of Life Issues

Full information on speakers, and booking details, are available here.

IHRC and Law Society of Ireland 11th Annual Human Rights Conference

A Right to Health Care in Ireland?

Human Rights in Ireland is pleased to welcome this guest post from Rosalind McKenna, Human Rights in Ireland Coordinator, Amnesty International Ireland as part of Human Rights Week 2012.

Twenty-three years have passed since Ireland became Party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Twenty three years of successive governments failing to domestically incorporate the Covenant into Irish law, or otherwise reflect the commitments undertaken in policy or practice.

In the absence of a commitment to constitutionally protect these rights, Amnesty International Ireland has been examining how legislation can be used to advance policy in line with international human rights standards. The Irish Human Rights Commission has outlined the advantages to protecting rights in legislation; these standards defining minimum core content of the right, stipulating financial arrangements for the delivery of rights, promoting accountability by prescribing exact responsibilities and functions of different levels of government, and preventing / prohibiting violations by public bodies or officials.

In particular, we are campaigning for legislation to drive forward the implementation of mental health policy, and to underpin forthcoming healthcare reform.

For nearly 30 years Ireland has been striving to reform its mental health services, with change slow and accountability inadequate. Successive government policies have called for fundamental reform of the mental health system (Planning for the Future (1984) and A Vision for Change (2006)). A Vision for Change called for a person-centred, recovery-oriented and holistic approach to mental health services. It called for a shift from the existing system, with an over-reliance on institutional care, to a system of community-based care provided by multi-disciplinary teams.

Human rights law demands that mental health services be continuously improved in line with Continue reading “A Right to Health Care in Ireland?”

A Right to Health Care in Ireland?

Neglected Citizens? The situation of people with an intellectual disability in residential care

Human Rights in Ireland welcomes this guest post from Jim Winters, Advocacy and Rights Officer, Inclusion Ireland as part of Human Rights Week 2012.

Founded in 1961 Inclusion Ireland is the national organisation advocating for the rights of people with an intellectual disability. Our focus is on the realisation of the core principles and values expressed in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Everyone has the right, including people with an intellectual disability, to a life free from the fear of violence or abuse. We know that people in care are vulnerable to abuse and neglect. Last year almost 10,000 incidents of violence, harassment, aggression or abuse against patients were recorded in Irish hospitals and community healthcare facilities.

One way to protect and promote the rights of people with an intellectual disability in care is to provide for the regulation of residential services.  Regulations describe the essential standards of quality and safety that people in disability services should expect. Services are monitored on their compliance with the regulations.

Inclusion Ireland has been advocating for the introduction of statutory standards and mandatory inspections of residential services for over seventeen years. However, successive governments have failed to take action. Numerous enquires and investigations have highlighted the lack of protection afforded to adults and children with disability in state-funded care. They have not been acted on.

In 2007, the McCoy Report, which investigated past child abuse within the Holy Family School and Brothers of Charity Services in Galway, called for the introduction of standards and inspections of as matter of urgency. In 2009 the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse recommended the introduction of statutory standards and inspections of residential services for children with disabilities.

In 2010 the Irish Human Rights Commission undertook an enquiry into the situation of Continue reading “Neglected Citizens? The situation of people with an intellectual disability in residential care”

Neglected Citizens? The situation of people with an intellectual disability in residential care

Human Rights and the Irish Government's Legislative Agenda 2012 and Beyond

The Department of An Taoiseach has published the overly ambitious legislative agenda for the current Dáil and Seanad session. The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2010 will (hopefully!) be heading to Committee Stage this term. The 2010 Immigration Bill has been around in essence since 2006, and will unlikely be coming into force for some time to come yet, despite severe need for fundamental reform of Ireland’s immigration and asylum laws.  Previous blog posts have discussed concerns with the 2010 Bill and its provisions, as well as noting the severe delays in debating this bill [see, here, here and here].  In the immediate future, a number of significant bills are expected be published that will engage Ireland’s human rights obligations under domestic, European and international human rights law. Of particular note in this regard will be establishing the DNA database (see Vicky’s Blog Carnival posts on DNA databases) and reforming the law on mental capacity (see Law Reform Commission’s report here and Human Rights in Ireland contributions to the wider capacity debate here).

A large number of other  Schemes/Heads of Bills are currently being drafted up as bills, in particular as regards criminal justice issues, corruption Continue reading “Human Rights and the Irish Government's Legislative Agenda 2012 and Beyond”

Human Rights and the Irish Government's Legislative Agenda 2012 and Beyond

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

Migrant Domestic Workers, Gender Equality, and Human Rights Conference

An international conference on migrant domestic workers will be hosted on October 19th, 2012, by the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights (UCC) and the Irish Human Rights Commission. The conference will mark European Anti-Trafficking day. Recent years have witnessed significant developments in international human rights standards relating to migrant domestic workers, including the adoption of the landmark 2011 ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, the CEDAW General Recommendation on Women Migrant Workers and a General Comment by the UN Committee on Migrant Workers.

Information on the conference agenda, speakers and registration information can be found here.

Migrant Domestic Workers, Gender Equality, and Human Rights Conference

Dealings by Irish companies in repressive countries raise concerns about business and human rights

We are delighted to welcome this Guest post from Dr Shane Darcy.  Dr Darcy is a lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway. A previous version of this article appeared in the Sunday Business Post on 11 March 2012.

The news that products provided by Irish companies are being implicated in repression and human right abuses overseas should not come as a surprise, given the lack of adequate regulation here. Software sold in Syria by Dublin-based Cellusys and AdaptiveMobile has been reported as being used by the Syrian government to censor text messages by protestors challenging President Assad’s rule. This is a government which the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has accused of “gross, widespread and systematic human rights violations”, amounting perhaps to crimes against humanity. As Ireland increasingly positions itself as an export orientated economy, its commitment to human rights requires that it ensure that companies operating here are human rights compliant.

This is not the first instance of involvement by Irish companies in the suppression of human rights outside of Ireland. Bloomberg reported in October 2011 that a system sold by AdaptiveMobile may have been used by Iran’s law enforcement and security agencies in their repression of political activists. Cement Roadstone Holdings has been criticised for its 25% shareholding of Israeli company Mashav, which controls Nesher Cement, supplier of concrete for the construction of settlements and the ‘separation wall’, declared to be unlawful by the International Court of Justice. Human rights is not just a matter for Continue reading “Dealings by Irish companies in repressive countries raise concerns about business and human rights”

Dealings by Irish companies in repressive countries raise concerns about business and human rights

Call for Papers: Ireland and the United Nations Framework for Business and Human Rights

A one-day conference organised by the Irish Centre for Human Rights and the School of Law, NUI Galway entitled “Ireland and the United Nations Framework for Business and Human Rights” will take place on 24 March 2012 at the National University of Ireland Galway.  The conference seeks to explore and analyse issues of law and policy for Ireland arising from the 2011 adoption by the United Nations of Professor John Ruggie’s framework for business and human rights.  The framework emphasises a State’s duty to protect human rights, a corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the need to provide remedies to respond to violations of human rights by business.  This conference seeks to look beyond the voluntary corporate social responsibility approach to business and human rights; as Maurice Manning, President of the Irish Human Rights Commission has observed, “voluntarism can never be a substitute for global standards on businesses’ mandatory compliance with human rights”. The organisers welcome in particular contributions which address seek to address legal questions which arise in relation to the UN framework on business and human rights.  Ireland represents an obvious case study in this context, given the presence of numerous multinational corporations, increasing privatisation of public services and allegations of corporate involvement in human rights violations both in and outside of Ireland. The conference aims to address the following topics:

  • Legal and policy approaches to regulation of Irish companies for human rights
  • Obligations of the State and companies when public functions are privatised
  • Role of extraterritorial jurisdiction in Irish law to address violations committed overseas by Irish companies or multinationals based here
  • The potential role of criminal law to address violations of human rights by business
  • Civil litigation as a means accountability – lessons from the Alien Tort Claims Act
  • Remedies for victims

Abstract Submission

Abstracts should be sent by 21 December 2011 to: Dr Shane Darcy (shane.darcy@nuigalway.ie) and Dr Ciara Hackett (ciara.hackett@nuigalway.ie). Successful applicants will be informed in January 2012 of their acceptance to the conference. For further information and registration for the conference please contact: Hadeel Abu Hussein: h.abushussein1@nuigalway.ie

Call for Papers: Ireland and the United Nations Framework for Business and Human Rights

Conference: Ireland’s Human Rights Record Under the Spotlight – Implications of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review

The Irish Human Rights Commission and the Law Society are holding their 9th Annual Human Rights Conference on 22 October 2011 from 10am to 2.30pm in the President’s Hall, Blackhall Place. The theme of this conference is the implications of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review for Ireland. Ireland’s draft UPR outcome is available here.  The keynote conference address will be given by Ms Anastasia Crickley, UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Other speakers include: Geraldine Hynes, Equality Authority, Susan McKay, National Women’s Council of Ireland, Professor William Binchy, Trinity College Dublin and Commissioner of the IHRC, Martin Collins, Pavee Point and former Commissioner of the IHRC, Siobhan O’Donoghue, Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland, Judge Michael Reilly, Inspector of Prisons, Candy Murphy, Social and Economic Consultant and John Dolan, National Disability Federation.

Those wishing to attend can contact  Anthea Moore on 01 672 4961 or email a.moore[at]lawsociety.ie.

 

 

Conference: Ireland’s Human Rights Record Under the Spotlight – Implications of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review

Diversity and Transparency in Appointments to the IHRC (Updated 7.7.11)

UPDATE 7.7.11: In today’s Irish Times, and in response to the article that prompted this post in the first place, the President of the Commission Maurice Manning writes about the proven independence of the Commission, makes a point of noting the involvement of every Commissioner in the day to day work of the Commission, and stresses the continuing work and high output of the Commission in spite of huge cuts to its budget and resources. These are all well-made points and reflect the fact that, as noted in a discussion in the comments to this post, mooting somewhat more diversity and transparency in appointments does not necessarily translate into a criticism of the Commission (which of course does not appoint its own members!) or of commissioners themselves. Rather it constitutes a suggestion as to process addressed to the Executive.

ORIGINAL POST: Today’s Irish Times features a piece by Carol Coulter about the Irish Human Rights Commission and, in particular, about the need to ensure that appointments to the Commission are transparent in order to help it to make good on its full potential. Coulter’s piece focuses on transparency and, to some extent, on the need for some diversity in appointments, but one might also argue that there is also a need to explore whether the Commission ought to be—or is capable of being—more muscular in its statements and interactions. For those who spend time with human rights activists, academics or communities attempting to secure realisation of their rights the fact that many feel occasionally disappointed by what are perceived as ‘pragmatic’ approaches by the IHRC is common knowledge. This pragmatism is, perhaps, connected to two things. Continue reading “Diversity and Transparency in Appointments to the IHRC (Updated 7.7.11)”

Diversity and Transparency in Appointments to the IHRC (Updated 7.7.11)