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Student Law Reviews at TCD and UCC

April 17, 2010 1 comment

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:

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.

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UK General Election: Alternative Manifestos

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

Read more…

Guest Post: Siobhan Cummiskey on Travellers as an Ethnic Minority

April 13, 2010 2 comments

We are delighted to welcome this guest post from Siobhan Cummiskey, managing solicitor of the Irish Traveller Movement Independent Law Centre. You can find out more about Siobhan on the Guest  Contributors page.

Travellers have once again been both literally and figuratively sidelined by the Irish government upon being consigned to the Appendix of Ireland’s State Report to CERD (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination) in their combined 3rd and 4th report to the CERD Committee submitted in December 2009. The consignment of Travellers to a mere Appendix of a state report on racism is a most overt method of affirming the policy-endorsed position that Travellers are social dropouts, failed settled people and an economically deprived social group, as opposed to an ethnic minority.

The Irish government reiterated its tired mantra on the recognition of Travellers as an ethnic minority in their 2009 state report:

“The exact basis for this claim is unclear. The Irish Government’s view is that Travellers do not constitute a distinct group from the population as a whole in terms of race, colour, descent or ethnic origin.”1

Our neighbour, the jurisdiction of England and Wales, has recognized Irish Travellers as an ethnic minority through the courts2 and Northern Ireland expressly includes Irish Travellers in their equality legislation under the definition of an ethnic minority3. Our own Equality Acts 2000-2004 fail to include Travellers as an ethnic minority and instead list them as a separate group to whom protection will be provided in that particular legal instrument. The Irish government maintains in their 2009 report to CERD that equality legislation that fails to define Travellers as an ethnic minority but instead singles them out as a separate group worthy of protection, “does not provide a lesser level of protection to Travellers compared to that afforded to members of ethnic minorities. On the contrary, the specific identification of Travellers in equality legislation guarantees that they are explicitly protected.”

Read more…

Campbell on Gun Crime in Ireland

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.

We Want to See Your Face: The Burqa in France, Belgium and Quebec

March 31, 2010 7 comments

Poster for Montreal film-maker Natasha Ivisic's documentary 'I wear the Veil'

 

On International Women’s Day, the EU Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg released a viewpoint which argued against restrictions on women’s religious dress. He stated that: 

Those who have argued for a general ban of the burqa and the niqab have not managed to show that these garments in any way undermine democracy, public safety, order or morals. The fact that a very small number of women wear such clothing has made proposals in such a direction even less convincing.  Nor has it been possible to prove that these women in general are victims of more gender repression than others. Those who have been interviewed in the media have presented a diversity of religious, political and personal arguments for their decision to dress themselves as they do. There may of course be cases where they are under undue pressure – but it is not shown that a ban would be welcomed by these women. 

Hammarberg seems to be in something of an unfashionable minority.In the past fortnight, three significant stories have broken about the regulation, in France, Belgium and Quebec, of the niqab and burqa worn by some Muslim women.  

Read more…

Symphysiotomy in the Courts: Kearney v. McQuillan

On Friday the Supreme Court cleared the way for Louth woman Olivia Kearney to bring an action in respect of the symphysiotomy which was performed on her in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda in 1969, when she was 18.  The judgment is here. We blogged about the question of symphysiotomy in February. The Minister for Health has since commissioned a report into the practice from the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Although symphysiotomy is often argued to be justified where it would be dangerous for a woman to attempt to deliver her baby without it, Ms. Kearney was – for reasons which are not clear – subjected to the operation after the birth. Her argument is that ‘there was no justification whatever, in any circumstances, for the performance of symphysiotomy on the plaintiff at the time it was performed and following delivery by caesarean section’. The hospital, as Hardiman J. noted, will be able to ‘defend the case by establishing in credible evidence some realistic reason for the procedure in the circumstances actually prevailing in relation to the plaintiff in 1969’.


‘Am Only Saying It Now’: New Report from AkiDwA

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 [3]. 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