The latest edition of the Cork Online Law Review is now available (free) here and features a number of interesting articles by undergraduate and postgraduate law students from Ireland and abroad. Articles likely to be of interest to our readers include:
- Alternatives to Traditional Sentencing Methods – The Efficacy and Constitutionality of Periodic Imprisonment in South Africa
- The Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act 2009: An Examination of the Compatibility of the New Act with Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights
- Balancing Conflicting Interests during Pregnancy: Ultrasound v Reality
- In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity: Religious Anachronisms and the Need for a Secular Constitution
- Designing Climate Change Law: A Comparative Analysis of the U.S. and the E.U.
- Scientific Uncertainty and the Precautionary Principle
- Limiting the Potential for Bystander Apathy: On the Introduction of a Duty to Rescue in International Law
The editors invite submissions for the 10th edition by December 12 2010. I should mention that two of us here at HRinI were on the first editorial board of the Review while many more of us had our first publications in the journal. Although it is terrifying to think that COLR will be 10 years old in no time, it is wonderful to see that the publication has gone from strength to strength.
The latest edition of the Trinity College Law Review, dedicated to the memory of the late Gernot Biehler, was launched in February. Subscription information will be available on the website shortly and articles of interest include:
- Lesbian Co-Parenting and Assisted Reproduction
- I Can’t Get No Satisfaction : An Analysis of the Influence of the European Convention on Human Rights on the Repossession of Public Housing in Ireland
- The Case for an Originalist Approach to Constitutional Interpretation in Ireland
- Maximising Justice: Using Transitional Justice Mechanisms to Address Questions of Development in Nepal
- Subsidiarity and Seanad Eireann
- Informed Consent, Patient Autonomy and Causation: Competing Perspectives – The United States, Ireland and Germany
- Roche v Roche: Some Guidance for Frozen Embryo Disputes
- An Analysis of the Courts’ Interpretation of Article 40.1 in JD v Residential Institutions Redress Committee
Student-run law reviews are thriving in Ireland at the moment. NUI Maynooth has established a new one while the next editions of the UCD Law Review (available on HeinOnline), the Hibernian Law Journal (Blackhall Place) and the Irish Student Law Review (King’s Inns) are in the pipeline.
The latest issue of Irish Political Studies features an article by Dr Robin Whitaker entitled “Debating Rights in the New Northern Ireland”. We have written before (here, here, here, here, here and a guest contribution here) about the difficulties ongoing in the NI Bill of Rights process and this article lends a useful political science perspective to this debate and ongoing commentary. The abstract states:
The 1998 Belfast Agreement provided for a Bill of Rights ‘to reflect the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland’. Opinion poll evidence indicates strong approval for such a charter. Diverse civil society groups have offered support, as have all the main parties. Yet, over a decade on, the Bill of Rights remains among the unfinished business of the Agreement. What Northern Ireland’s ‘particular circumstances’ demand in terms of codified rights is a matter of considerable dispute. Political unionism supports a narrow interpretation and a minimalist bill; nationalists argue for an expansive reading, encompassing socio-economic issues. Debate about rights looks at first glance like just another battleground for constitutional conflict. However, an examination of the scope of the debates together with their substance complicates any such reductionist reading, although this complexity tends to recede where the demands of formalised cross-community consent are strongest. Read more…
Liam and Cian have already summarised the election manifestos of the main(land) political parties (Lab., Lib. and Tory) in the forthcoming UK General Election. A number of NGOs and civil society organisations have already published their own manifestos as well as instructive responses to the party pledges. Here are some of the most interesting from a human rights perspective:
- Amnesty International (UK) has produced a series of election briefings on Women’s Rights, Security and Human Rights, the Human Rights Framework, Poverty and Human Rights and the Asylum System. All are available here.
- The Law Society’s Manifesto is here.
- The Manifesto for Justice (AdviceUK, the Bar Council, the Institute of Legal Executives, JUSTICE, the Law Centres Federation, the Legal Action Group, the Legal Aid Practitioners’ Group and Liberty) is here
A new book by one of our regular contributors, Vicky Conway, has been published this week by Irish Academic Press. Entitled The Blue Wall of Silence: The Morris Tribunal and Police Accountability in the Republic of Ireland, it provides the first in-depth analysis of the impact of the most significant tribunal in the history of policing in Ireland. For those not familiar with the Tribunal, it examined and upheld serious allegations of negligence and corruption in the policing district of Donegal concerning the framing of two men for a murder when in fact the victim had died in a hit and run incident, the planting of hoax IRA bomb finds, the planting of weapons on a travellers halting site and the planting of an explosive device on a telecommunications mast. Read more…
HRinI’s Liz Campbell has published an article entitled ‘Responding to Gun Crime in Ireland’ in the current issue of the British Journal of Criminology. The article is available to download here (subscription required). The abstract reads:
From stereotypical views of Ireland as a peaceful and ‘low crime’ society, the media and policy makers now report the worsening of gun crime, in particular crimes of homicide committed by firearm. Despite this sometimes hyperbolic popular commentary, serious and fatal gun crime has indeed increased. In reacting through extraordinary legal measures, the Irish state adopts an unduly narrow perspective, predicated on a rational actor model; what this paper seeks to do is put forward two more profitable and persuasive means of analysis, by focusing on social deprivation and the expression of masculinity.
You can find out more about Liz on our Regular Contributors Page.
MDAC announces project on effective monitoring of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The Mental Disability Advocacy Centre (MDAC) today announces a yearlong project that seeks to provide direction to governments and civil society on the effective implementation of Article 33 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Article 33 deals with domestic implementation of the Convention. Practical guidelines and checklists will be developed that will assist governments and NGOs in understanding the obligations of States Parties under Article 33. The project will also apply these guidelines in order to determine whether State Parties to the Convention are meeting their obligations under Article 33. A summary report will be submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to assist the Committee in holding States Parties to account.
The UNCRPD is one of only two international human rights treaties to contain a specific provision on the role and structure of domestic implementation and monitoring mechanisms of the Convention (Article 33). (The only other similar provision is the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture). The outcomes of this project will be hugely useful to civil society groups, policy makers and researchers here in Ireland. It will also be very useful in benchmarking the implementation of the Convention here.
AkiDwa, a leading minority ethnic-led national network of African and migrant women living in Ireland, has published Am Only Saying It Now; a report which documents the experiences of female asylum seekers in Ireland, and gives space to a great deal of important direct testimony by women living in direct provision centres. Susan McKay, who is Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, contributed a very insightful response to the report to the Irish Times on Thursday. The report is short, accessible and thought-provoking. It recommends that:
• Gender guidelines in asylum and reception processes should be introduced and implemented . Gender guidelines in asylum processes should be introduced into pending immigration legislation in Ireland.
• A mandatory code of conduct, a comprehensive training programme and Garda vetting should be introduced promptly and fully implemented for all personnel, management, accommodation owners and government department officials working with individuals seeking asylum, protection and leave to remain in the direct provision accommodation system.
• Mandatory training and capacity building should be conducted on a regular basis with key providers of State services to individuals seeking asylum, protection and leave to remain and should include gender based issues and the prevention of, and response to, abuse and exploitation.
• An independent, transparent and confidential complaint and redress mechanism should be fully put into place for individuals seeking asylum, protection and leave to remain, and made accessible to all residents in direct provision.
• An independent commission of inquiry should take place to assess the mental, emotional and physical effects of long term confinement of individuals seeking asylum, protection or leave to remain in Ireland
The much-anticipated New Politics proposals of Fine Gael, Ireland’s largest opposition party, have just been released and can be downloaded here. The proposals are extremely wide reaching and include numerous constitutional and extra-constitutional proposals, many of which we will discuss here on HRinI over the next few days once we’ve had an opportunity to digest the report. The overview follows after the jump. Read more…
Congratulations to Brice Dickson, professor of international and comparative law and director of the human rights centre at the QUB School of Law, whose new book entitled The European Convention on Human Rights and the Conflict in Northern Ireland has just been published by Oxford University Press. According to the blurb:
This book provides the first comprehensive account of the role played by the European Convention on Human Rights during the conflict in Northern Ireland from 1968. Brice Dickson studies the effectiveness of the Convention in protecting human rights in a society wracked by terrorism and deep political conflict, detailing the numerous applications lodged at Strasbourg relating to the conflict and considering how they were dealt with by the enforcement bodies. The book illustrates the limitations inherent in the Convention system but also demonstrates how the European Commission and Court of Human Rights gradually developed a more interventionist approach to the applications emanating from Northern Ireland. In turn this allowed the Convention to become a more secure guarantor of basic rights and freedoms during times of extreme civil unrest and political turmoil elsewhere in Europe.
The topics examined include the right to life, the right not to be ill-treated, the right to liberty, the right to a fair trial, the right to a private life, the right to freedom of belief, the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of assembly, and the right not to be discriminated against. The book argues that, while eventually the European Court did use the applications from Northern Ireland to establish important human rights principles, their development was slow and arduous and some gaps in protection still remain. The book illustrates the limits of the European Convention as a tool for protecting human rights in times of crisis.
I look forward very much to reading this. The ECtHR’s approach to the conflict in Northern Ireland was, in many cases, very ‘light touch’ and deferential although, as the blurb notes, it became more rigorous over time. Although the book deals with the specific context of Northern Ireland I am sure that the theories and arguments will be generalisable beyond that. As NI is one of the main contexts within which the limits and possibilities of the Convention’s capacity to be effective in times of terroristic crisis I have no doubt the book will be of general interest to readers grappling with these difficult questions.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has now released the first of its Know Your Rights booklets. The Know Your Rights campaign is directed towards making people aware of their rights in different situations and communicating those rights in clear and accessible language. The first of these booklets relates to criminal justice and Garda powers and is available for download here and is both comprehensive and comprehensible–well worth downloading.
The Know Your Rights campaign is exactly the kind of thing that we need to be doing in Ireland by means of human rights education for the general populace and the ICCL are to be commended for their leadership on this matter.