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Posts Tagged ‘uncerd’

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.”

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Irishwoman Elected to UNCERD

January 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Via Irish Press Releases comes the news that Anastasia Crickley has been elected to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination for a four year term. The press release from the Department of Foreign Affairs says:

Ms. Crickley has a distinguished international record in working against racism and discrimination. She served until very recently as the Inaugural Chair of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency and previously as Chair of the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia.

At a national level, she has been a founding member and chairperson of a number of innovative agencies devoted to promoting the rights of minorities and the marginalised, and to combating racism in Ireland. She is currently the Head of Department of Applied Social Studies at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. She is also a member of the Council of State.

Ms Crickley also served as head of the ill-fated National Consultative Committee on Racism and Inequality. Her other achievements are set out here and here. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is composed of ’18 independent experts, who are persons of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights’.