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Archive for January, 2010

New HRW report on Abortion

January 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Human Rights Watch today launched a short report entitled: A State of Isolation: Access to Abortion for Women in Ireland. The full report is here and the executive summary is here. Maman Poulet blogs about it here. The report is very accessible and will be a really important resource for the future.

Update: The Irish Times has coverage here, the Examiner here and the Guardian here.

Job Opportunity: Research Officer with the Irish RAXEN National Focal Point

January 27, 2010 Leave a comment

The Irish RAXEN National Focal Point (NFP) for RAXEN Europe has sent us a notice that it is currently seeking a Research Officer for a position of up to one-year to join the NFP team of academics and researchers involved in conducting research on the following three discrete and short projects:

  1. The Situation of Asylum Seekers: Asylum Procedures and the Right to Work
  2. Racist and Related Hate Crimes in the EU
  3. A complimentary data collection report on issues relating to racism, xenophobia and related intolerances

The research officer position provides a great opportunity to expand qualitative research and statistical skills, and work with a team of academics, researchers and activists in the area of equality, human rights and social justice.

Since 2000, the European Union (EU) Fundamental Rights Agency (formerly the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism, Xenophobia and related Intolerances) has been collecting data on racism, xenophobia and related intolerances through its RAXEN National Focal Points (NFPs) based in each EU Member State. Information provided by the NFPs covers the areas of legislation, racist violence/crime, employment, education, housing, as well as health and is primarily used to develop in-house European-wide comparative analyses. More information is available here.

The Irish RAXEN NFP is a consortium project led by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) in partnership with the School for Social Justice, University College Dublin. Communications for the project are managed by the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI).  Previously, the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI) performed the functions of the Irish NFP until its closure in 2008.

More information on the job spec, conditions and how to make an application are available after the jump.

Read more…

France and Muslim Women’s Dress: Report Relased

January 26, 2010 2 comments

Andre Gerin is Chair of the Commission which reported today

UPDATES on Wednesday: Here are links to some of the best commentary on the Gerin Report from today’s papers:  Raphael Liogier in the Guardian locates the partial ban within a broader crisis of French identity. The Financial Times calls the partial ban an example of ‘Republican bigotry‘ while the NYT claims that ‘the Taliban would applaud’ the French proposals. There is mention of a ‘pro-veil’ attack at a Paris mosque and discussion of splits within the Commission in the Times. The Independent also discusses the lack of French unity on the burqa question and the Christian Science Monitor discusses political strategising around Muslim women’s dress. An older article in the Independent argues that wearing the burqa in the 21st century is ‘preposterous’. The BBC asks ‘Should the UK ban the Muslim face veil?’.

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The parliamentary committee set up in June to investigate the wearing of the burqa and the niqab in France released its report today. The report is available here (in French only). “The wearing of the full veil is a challenge to our republic. This is unacceptable,” says the report. “We must condemn this excess”. Agnes Poirier has an interesting take on the negotiations which led to the report. Natasha Lehrer summarises the key findings for the Index on Censorship as follows:

As expected, the commission stopped short of recommending a blanket ban on the wearing of the burka, proposing instead a ban on covering the face in administrative buildings, schools, hospitals and public transport. “This measure would oblige people not only to show their faces at the entrance to all public buildings but also to keep their faces uncovered during the entire period in which they are in a public building.” The report goes on to emphasise that “the consequence of violating this injunction would not be criminal but would be sanctioned by the service being sought being refused.”

In addition the commission suggests that wearing the burka might also be banned in buildings used by members of the public — for example banks or post offices — where identity checks and CCTV are used for security purposes, for example to prevent robbery. For similar reasons of public safety, driving whilst wearing the burka might also be forbidden.

Read more…

Children’s Rights Alliance Report Card 2010

January 26, 2010 1 comment

On Monday, the Children’s Rights Alliance launched its annual ‘report card‘. The report card examines whether the Government has honoured the promises it has made to children living in Ireland. These commitments are found in Social Partnership Agreement, Towards 2016; the Programme for Government 2007-2012 and the Renewed Programme for Government, 2009; the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016, and the Ryan Report Implementation Plan, 2009. The executive summary of the report is here and the full report is here. The Alliance awarded the government a ‘D-‘ grade overall.

The Alliance says:

In Ireland, we believe that we value children, but the startling evidence shows otherwise. Of the 29 commitments, 7 have made progress or shown improvement, 9 have remained static or cannot yet be monitored, and a further 13 are lagging seriously behind. In times of crisis and emergency, it is only natural that we would expect children to come first, but the evidence shows the opposite is true, on some issues the Government is putting its head in the sand.

In a similar vein, this article in yesterday’s Irish Times partly attributed the rise in the number of children taken into care last year to the economic downturn.

Guest Contribution: Murphy on Terrorism Sanctions in the EU

January 26, 2010 Leave a comment

We are very pleased to welcome this guest contribution from Dr Cian Murphy (right) of City University, London. You can find out more about Cian on our guest contribitors page.

The Rule of Law Inches Forward: UN Sanctions in EU Law

Chafiq Ayadi is one of only two individuals resident in Ireland whose assets are frozen under the UN sanctions regime established by UN Security Council resolution 1267. Two years ago I published a short note in the 2007 Dublin University Law Journal (‘Ayadi v Council: Competence and Justice in the “War on Terrorism”’ [2007] Dublin University Law Journal 426) critically commenting upon the decision of the EU General Tribunal (then the Court of First Instance) in his legal challenge to the freezing of his assets (Ayadi v Council). I concluded, somewhat pessimistically, by noting that

For the European resident targeted by the sanctions, access to justice is guarded by Kafka’s doorkeepers. For his subsistence, the individual must petition his government. For his delisting, he must petition the Sanctions Committee. For protection of his rights, he must wait, for the doorkeepers are many and the door, though apparently open, cannot be passed through.

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UNHCR Ireland-Protection Assistant

January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (Ireland) is seeking to recruit a Protection Assistant for a position in their Dublin Office.

Further particulars regarding the post and application procedure can be found here.

Proportionality, Administrative Decision-Making and Judicial Review

January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Last week saw the Supreme Court hand down its judgment in the important case of Meadows v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform [2010]. This case considered whether a proportionality analysis is generally applicable to administrative decisions that have an impact on one’s constitutional and/or fundamental rights. This case, in which the Supreme Court appears to have introduced a general requirement for proportionality analyses in all administrative action that has individual rights implications, is a potentially monumental one that might have wide-ranging implications for administrative decision-making in this jurisdiction for quite some time to come. Although the case takes place within the context of asylum and refugee law it seems quite clear that its implications are much broader than this; the ratio as stated is a general one applicable to all situations of rights-endangerment by administrative review, although of course the severity of potential interferences with individual rights will be a factor to be taken into account in the conduct of any proportionality analysis.

The facts

The case concerned an applicant for asylum in Ireland who claimed that she suffered a real risk of persecution if returned to Nigeria because she would be forced to enter into a marriage arranged by her father and would be subjected to female genital mutilation. The applicant had been refused asylum on the basis that she was determined not to have made out a well founded fear of persecution on a Refugee Convention ground and was subsequently unsuccessful before the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, which was not satisfied that she had established “a credible connection between her circumstances and forced marriage and female genital mutilation”. On applying for leave to remain in the state, the applicant claimed that forcing her to return to Nigeria would violate her rights in both national and international law given the severity of the danger that it was alleged awaited her there. The application for leave to remain was refused, with the Minister claiming he was satisfied that the prohibition on refoulement was not breached and that “the interests of public policy and the common good in maintaining the integrity of the asylum and immigration systems outweigh such features of [the] case as might tend to support [the applicant] being granted leave to remain in this State.”

The claim

In the Supreme Court case Meadows argued that whether or not questions of fundamental human rights had been taken into appropriate account in administrative decision making ought to be considered in judicial review proceedings. Judicial review is a means of challenging the decision-making process and not the outcome, but if the process is found to have been deficient then the outcome is a priori also deficient. Unreasonableness has always been a basis for judicial review and this case essentially centred on whether or not a decision making process could be said to be unreasonable if it is found that a proportionality analysis was not properly engaged in, taking into account the grave repercussions of interference with individual rights that might flow from an administrative decision.

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