Diagnosis for Human Rights?

Human Rights in Ireland is pleased to welcome this guest post from Ben Power. Ben is the Board and Company Secretary for Transgender Equality Network Ireland. For more information on TENI’s work see www.teni.ie

Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) is Ireland’s national trans organisation. We seek to improve conditions and advance the human rights and equality of trans people and their families. We are dedicated to ending transphobia, including stigma, discrimination and inequality. As part of this, one of the most important campaigns we are currently working on is the introduction of fully inclusive Gender Recognition Legislation. This provides a process enabling trans people to achieve full legal recognition of their preferred gender and allows for the acquisition of a new birth certificate that reflects this change. The introduction of legislation will make it easier for trans people in Ireland to lead safe, healthy and integrated lives.  Legislation has been proposed, however, much of it is restrictive and would infringe on the rights and privacy of trans people. In October 2012, a blog carnival to mark the 5th anniversary of Dr Foy’s victory  in the High Court was used to highlight the issues with the proposed legislation. Read it here.

So why does Gender Recognition Matter so much? What makes it so important?

There are many situations in an individual’s life where they are required to present a birth certificate in order to obtain their legal entitlements. For a transgender person this poses some complications. When the name and gender on your birth certificate is vastly different from the name you currently use and how you present your gender, questions will always be asked and this invariably leads to an awkward explanation forcing the trans person to “out” themselves, Continue reading

Asylum Seekers, Reception Conditions and Value for Money

On July 30th the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) published Value for Money & Policy Review: Asylum Seeker Accommodation Programme (May 2010). Éidín Ní Shé has noted some of the main recommendations relating to the closure of some current reception centres so as to reduce RIA expenditure on accommodation for asylum seekers. There are two aspects which I find interesting in this review (1) the rationale for the operation of direct provision and (2) the objections to mainstreaming asylum seekers within the current welfare system.

Rationale for Operation of Direct Provision

Direct provision and dispersal is presented as a means of controlling illegal immigration,  preventing future asylum flows if Ireland was to have more favourable reception standards than Britain and  re-directing asylum seekers away from Dublin due to strains on social services. Refusing the right to work and barring access to traditional welfare supports, though providing for the basic needs of asylum seekers is viewed as Continue reading