Universal Periodic Review and Reception of Asylum Seekers

Human Rights in Ireland is pleased to bring you this guest post from Claire McCarthy, Policy & Campaigning Officer, at Nasc, The Irish Immigrant Support Centre.

Ireland’s human rights record will be examined by our peers in the UN this coming October, when our turn comes up in a new UN process called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Human rights organisations have submitted their concerns and recommendations for the consideration of the country representatives who will examine our record. Having examined most of them, the reception of asylum seekers appears to be by far the most widespread concern, affecting as it does children’s rights, women’s rights, mental health, social inclusion and general civil liberties. A range of organisations concerned with Ireland’s human rights standards have already made  submissions that will inform the country representatives who will ask questions, and make recommendations to Ireland about how we might improve our human rights record. Some of those organisations have taken the opportunity presented by the UPR to consult with as many concerned citizens as possible in order to prepare truly representative submissions. You may have Continue reading “Universal Periodic Review and Reception of Asylum Seekers”

Universal Periodic Review and Reception of Asylum Seekers

Rights Now: Review of Nationwide Consultation

Preparations are continuing in relation to the Universal Periodic Review (for background to this process, see here, here, here, here, here , here, here and here. Rights Now have finished their series of nationwide consultations and is holding a public meeting to review the outcome of the nationwide consultation by the Your Rights, Rights Now Campaign will be held in Dublin on Thursday 10th March. The meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss:

  • Themes arising from the consultation;
  • Structure of the final report;
  • Recommendations, and,
  • Next steps.

If you would like to attend the meeting, please RSVP by Friday 4th March to rightsnow@iccl.ie

Rights Now: Review of Nationwide Consultation

Irish People Urged to Get Involved in ‘Your Rights. Right Now.’

Organisations and individuals throughout the country are being called on to hold the State to account for its human rights record as part of a new campaign called ‘Your Rights. Right Now’.

Ireland’s human rights record is being reviewed by the United Nations for the first time ever this year, under a new process called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).  In the lead-up to the UPR, 17 leading organisations have joined forces – under the ‘Your Rights. Right Now’ campaign – to help people hold the State to account for its human rights record.  The initiative is aimed at giving individuals and organisations a chance to contribute to the UPR. Continue reading “Irish People Urged to Get Involved in ‘Your Rights. Right Now.’”

Irish People Urged to Get Involved in ‘Your Rights. Right Now.’

UPR Symposium: The Rights of Prisoners

Human Rights in  Ireland is delighted to welcome Jane Mulcahy, Research and Policy Officer for the Irish Penal Reform Trust who discusses the approach of the IPRT to the Universal Periodic Review process.

As Ireland’s leading non-governmental organisation campaigning for the rights of people in prison and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy, IPRT believes that the United Nations UPR process offers a unique opportunity to examine Ireland’s human rights record with regard to prisoners before other countries for the first time (in October 2011).  Through our involvement with the process we hope to shed new light on specific human rights violations in the Irish prison system, make recommendations for improvement and thereby effect much-needed change. The high profile, intra-state nature of the UPR examination in Geneva, together with the stated intention of the Irish government to be elected to the Human Rights Council[1] in 2012 presents a unique opportunity Continue reading “UPR Symposium: The Rights of Prisoners”

UPR Symposium: The Rights of Prisoners

UPR Symposium: Women’s Human Rights – Adult Rape and Sexual Violence

Human Rights in Ireland is delighted to welcome this guest contribution from Stacey Scriver, a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Global Women’s Studies Programme in the School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway.

Rape has long been recognised as a human rights issue and more specifically as a women’s human rights issue; indeed, almost 97% of known adult rapes in Ireland are committed against women. However, rape committed by private actors in private locations tends to be viewed as a problem for criminal law rather than as a human rights violation. Nevertheless, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women makes clear that sexual violence that occurs within the family or the community constitutes a violation of women’s human rights.  As part of the Universal Periodic Review  process violence against women has been a prominent issue addressed  by States in their recommendations to the country under review, most notably during Mexico’s review and just last month as part of Mauritania’s review.

The recent study Rape and Justice in Ireland, established that the Director of Public Prosecutions in Ireland currently prosecutes almost 1/3 of prosecutable rape cases. Nevertheless, there are a number of Continue reading “UPR Symposium: Women’s Human Rights – Adult Rape and Sexual Violence”

UPR Symposium: Women’s Human Rights – Adult Rape and Sexual Violence

UPR Symposium: Irish Civil Society Engagement

Human Rights in Ireland is delighted to welcome this contribution from Mary O’ Shea, the  UN Universal Periodic Review Coordinator based in the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is coordinating a civil society contribution to Ireland’s first assessment under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council, scheduled to take place in October 2011. The UPR is innovative in that it is a co-operative mechanism. Indeed, constructive engagement between government, national human rights institutions and civil society is one of the key benefits to emerge from the UPR process over the past four years. If Ireland is to have a quality, participatory and inclusive UPR process, it is imperative that civil society play an active role and fully engage in the process.

To this end, sixteen Irish civil society organisations have come together to coordinate an effective civil society response as part of a UPR Civil Society Cross Sectoral Steering Group. The aim Continue reading “UPR Symposium: Irish Civil Society Engagement”

UPR Symposium: Irish Civil Society Engagement

UPR Symposium: Personal Reflections on the Universal Periodic Review

In this post, Liam Thornton, from Human Rights in Ireland, offers some reflections on the nature and process of the Universal Periodic Review. These reflections do not necessarily represent the views of any of the individuals/organisations who have contributed to this UPR Symposium.

As can be seen from the previous posts, the UPR offers the potential to further highlight areas where Ireland’s protection of human rights may not be fully up to scratch. The UPR process is to complement rather than replace current reporting procedures to UN human rights treaty based bodies. Previous reviews of Ireland’s human rights record at the UN level have uncovered serious issues with Ireland’s human rights protections in civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, women’s rights and issues relating to racial or ethnic discrimination. The various treaty based bodies who have  made observations on Ireland’s compliance with its international legal obligations are primarily composed of human rights experts who reviewed Irish respect for and protection of human rights. The UPR process is  more politicised Continue reading “UPR Symposium: Personal Reflections on the Universal Periodic Review”

UPR Symposium: Personal Reflections on the Universal Periodic Review

Universal Periodic Review

Ireland is due to be reviewed in 2011 under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council . The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process takes place every four years and covers all aspects of Ireland’s human rights record including, economic, social, cultural and political rights. This is a process of state review by other states and was created by the UN General Assembly in 2006. Ireland is required to submit a report which is examined by the UN Human Rights Council which then makes recommendations on how Ireland could improve its human rights record. Other bodies including NGO’s and the treaty bodies of various UN human rights treaties also submit reports to the Council as part of the review process. The state has primary responsibility for responding to the report, though at the point of the second review, cognisance of the state’s response to the initial review will be taken into account.

The Irish Human Rights Commission are currently looking for looking for the input of statutory bodies, civil society organisations and members of the public as part of the report it will submit in the UPR. The ICHR will enable or aid these groups to take part in the UPR process and are currently looking for interest in participation. The IHRC’s role as the National Human Rights Institution means that it is particularly well suited to report on Ireland’s human rights record and it is important that as many views as possible are represented in the UPR process to ensure that a true picture of the state of human rights in Ireland emerges.

Universal Periodic Review