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Autumn/Winter 2014


ABOUT TH E ICCL

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is Ireland’s leading independent human rights watchdog, which monitors, educates and campaigns in order to secure full enjoyment of human rights for everyone. Founded in 1976 by Mary Robinson and others, the ICCL has played a leading role in some of the most successful human rights campaigns in Ireland. These have included establishing an independent Garda Ombudsman Commission, legalising the right to divorce, securing more effective protection of children’s rights, decriminalising homosexuality and the introduction of enhanced equality legislation. We believe in a society which protects and promotes human rights, justice and equality.

SEASON’S GREETINGS FROM THE ICCL

The ICCL’s Staff Team are happy to bring you this bumper endof-year issue of Rights News, and to wish you and yours a happy and inclusive 2015. Mark Kelly Director

What we do • We advocate for positive changes in the area of human rights. • We monitor government policy and legislation to make sure that it complies with international standards. • We conduct original research and publish reports on issues as diverse as equal rights for all families, the right to privacy, policy reform and judicial accountability. • We run campaigns to raise public and political awareness of human rights, justice and equality issues. • We work closely with other key stakeholders in the human rights, justice and equality sectors.

How you can help You can help us to continue our work to monitor, train, conduct research, campaign and lobby for changes in legislation to ensure our rights are protected and promoted. Please visit our website: www.iccl.ie or phone us on 01 799 4504 to make a donation. Contact us: ICCL, 9-13 Blackhall Place, Dublin 7 T:+ 353 1 799 4504 F:+ 353 1 799 4512 E: info@iccl.ie W: www.iccl.ie Cover image: Campaigner Joanne O’Riordan and Kilkenny goalkeeper Eoin Murphy pictured in University College Cork with representatives from Marriage Equality, GLEN, the Union of Students in Ireland and UCC at the launch of the Yes Equality Register to Vote Campaign on 3 November 2014

Support the work of the ICCL in 2015 – Donate or Become a Member Today

the Government has announced will take place in May, will be a landmark moment for equality.

Our work to secure a fair and balanced criminal justice system and our efforts to ensure that During 2014, we have seen significant progress Ireland adheres to international human rights in areas in which the ICCL has been working standards, will also continue. for decades, for example the Government’s proposal to create an independent policing We hope that you will stand with us. Please make a donation in support of our work or join authority. the ICCL as a member today – or do both. We have also seen our flagship networks JUSTICIA and INCLO, as well as our awareness- Your gift, regardless of size, makes a huge raising and education projects such as Know difference and protects our independence to Your Rights and the ICCL Human Rights Film speak truth to power. Awards, go from strength to strength. Please log on to www.iccl.ie to give today or Next year will bring exciting developments phone the ICCL office on 01 799 4504. and opportunities to advance human rights Thank you. protection and promotion in Ireland. The referendum on civil marriage equality, which


I R E LAN D’S ICCPR EXAM I NATION

The NGO delegation in the Committee chamber

Impact of Irish ‘institutional belief system’ on the rights of women and children criticised by UN Human Rights Committee In July 2014, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties led a delegation of Irish and international civil society organisations (CSOs) to attend the examination of Ireland’s periodic report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by the UN Human Rights Committee. The examination took place on 14 and 15 July 2014 at the headquarters of the Human Rights Committee in the Palais Wilson, Geneva. As well as leading a delegation to Geneva, the ICCL also hosted a live webcast of the proceedings at home in Dublin.

During the session, Committee members had an opportunity to hear updated progress reports from the Irish Government delegation and ask detailed follow-up questions concerning the State’s current human rights record. The Government Delegation to the session was led by Minister for Justice, Ms Frances Fitzgerald TD, who, together with colleagues from a number of Government departments, addressed the Committee in person. The ICCL was joined by a large number of CSOs and academics in attending the session to observe proceedings first-hand and to brief members of the Committee, both formally and informally, on many of the issues identified by the Committee as cause for concern. Prior to the hearings the ICCL-led Civil Society Steering Group on ICCPR submitted its detailed 181 page Shadow Report to the Committee outlining Ireland’s progress (or lack thereof) on many issues concerning civil and political rights since Ireland’s last reporting period in 2008. The report is available from the website of the ICCL www.iccl.ie and from www.rightsnow.ie.

“Dominant Ideology” A significant number of the issues that CSOs brought to the attention of Committee members centred on current or past treatment of women and children in Ireland’s institutional settings, including in relation to Magdalene laundries, so called ‘Mother and Baby homes’ and the myriad of institutional and clerical abuse scandals. Information was also provided to Committee members on the unjust, ideologically driven, surgical interventions in childbirth formerly undertaken in privately-owned or State-run hospitals. These interventions, known as symphysiotomy (severing of the symphys joint) and pubiotomy (severing of the pubic bone), were carried out on women, often without consent or a full appreciation by the women of the potentially debilitating and life-altering consequences, as an alternative to Caesarean section, a less invasive but, to some practitioners, an ideologically controversial practice limiting subsequent child bearing for women.

The ICCL-coordinated Civil Society report, launched in June 2014 and submitted to the UN in advance of Ireland’s examination by the Human Rights Committee in July 2014.

Organisations highlighting the continuing plight of women and girls living under Ireland’s restrictive abortion regime also addressed the


I R E LAN D’S ICCPR EXAM I NATION

Palais Wilson. Credit - United Nations Committee. This included representatives from the Terminations for Medical Reasons group, who gave a detailed insight into how pregnant women who discover they are carring a foetus with a fatal abnormality incompatible with life outside the womb are forced to travel if they wish to seek a lawful abortion. Representatives from the medical professions and service providers also highlighted the extremely restrictive nature of the newly enacted Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act 2013 and the fact that no provision has yet been made for access to lawful abortion in cases of rape or incest despite previous recommendations from the Committee. Other issues raised with the Committee included lack of progress on Traveller’s rights including recognition of Traveller ethnicity; the

urgent need to implement legislative changes to enable ratification of the International Covenant on the Rights of Persons with a Disability (ICRPD) and Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT); the lack of provision for non-denomination education; the continuing obligation on members of the judiciary to swear religious oaths in order to take office; the rights of migrants and asylum seekers; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights including in relation to legal recognition for transgender persons and the need to reform employment equality law to prohibit unfair discrimination against LGBT persons; ending of the use of the Special Criminal Court; the need to prohibit corporal punishment of children; issues in relation to domestic violence and trafficking of persons; poor standards in detention facilities, detention of minors and the ongoing use of imprisonment for failure to fulfil a contractual obligation; and the need for a robust monitoring and implementation framework for human rights law in Ireland. Having heard harrowing testimony from members of the Survivors of Symphysiotomy group, members of the Terminations for Medical Reasons group, medical practitioners and service providers operating under Ireland’s restrictive abortion regime, and from representatives who highlighted ongoing issues in relation to mother and baby homes and other related abuse scandals, the Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee, Sir Nigel Rodley, was moved to remark at the conclusion of the session “[T]he Magdalene Laundries, the ‘Mother and Baby’ homes, the child abuse, the symphysiotomy - it’s quite a collection...and all of them are not disconnected from the institutional belief system that has predominated in the State Party and which occasionally has sought to dominate the State Party.”

Joanne Garvey of ICCL with representatives of Survivors of Symphysiotomy in Geneva

In welcoming the limited progress that has been made on reproductive rights following the introduction of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act 2013, the Chairperson nonetheless lamented that the recognition by the State that the life of the women should be given paramount consideration over that of the unborn did not extend either to the health of the woman or in cases of rape, a scenario he found


I R E LAN D’S ICCPR EXAM I NATION

difficult to comprehend. Sir Nigel stated “Life without quality of life, is not something many of us have to choose between and to suggest that, regardless of the health consequences of a pregnancy, a person may be doomed to continue it at the risk of criminal penalty is difficult to understand [and] even more so, arguably, for rape, where the person doesn’t even bear any responsibility, and is, by the law, clearly treated as a vessel and nothing more.”

CSO Delegation The Human Rights Committee believes that CSOs have a critical role to play as outside observers and commentators in the monitoring of the implementation of the Covenant in States Parties and this year, the ICCL led the largest delegation of CSOs yet to attend the hearings from Ireland. The delegation comprised a significant number of representatives from the ICCL-led Civil Society Steering Group on ICCPR as well as representatives from national and international NGOs. The delegation was led by the ICCL’s Stephen O’Hare and Joanne Garvey who coordinated attendance at the hearing. Prior to the first session, an informal briefing session was held between the Country Reporting Task Force of the Committee and with representatives from Civil Society Organisations and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (Designate). The informal briefing session was chaired by Stephen O’Hare.

Stephen O’Hare and Joanne Garvey of the ICCL with Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald. CSOs and experts who participated in the session included:

Abortion Rights Campaign

Pavee Point

Irish Council for Civil Liberties

Atheist Alliance International

Survivors of Symphysiotomy

(Atheist Ireland)

Immigrant Council for Ireland

Dr Alison Mawhinney, Bangor

Irish Traveller Movement

University

Irish Family Planning Association

Ms Mairead Enright, Kent University

Irish Penal Reform Trust

and Human Rights in Ireland blog

Inclusion Ireland

Terminations for Medical Reasons

Doctors for Choice

Centre for Reproductive Rights

About the Treaty Monitoring Process The periodic process of examining each State Party’s progress in implementing the ICCPR begins with the submission

on how States Parties should improve on their current human rights record and ensure full compliance with the provisions of the Covenant.

by the State Party of a detailed report on its human rights

As part of the process, NGOs are invited to submit detailed

record under Articles 1-27 of the Covenant. Ireland submitted

information prior to the compilation of the List of Issues,

its Fourth Periodic Report in July 2012. Following a review of

prior to the hearings and to attend the hearings to formally

the Report, states are invited to appear before Committee

and informally brief Committee members in order to assist

members in open session to answer questions arising from

them in their work.

a List of Issues. The List of Issues is a series of questions prepared by the Country Reporting Task Force (comprising six members of the Committee) and sent to the State at least one session before the review. This List of Issues highlights issues of concern to the Committee which will be discussed during the session. Following the session, the Committee produces a detailed list of Concluding Observations which sets out the Committee’s observations and recommendations

Ireland ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1989. Ireland provides periodic updates to the Human Rights Committee on its progress in implementing the provisions of the Covenant in Irish law. The role of the Human Rights Committee is to, inter alia, monitor each participating States Parties compliance with the Covenant.


I R E LAN D’S ICCPR EXAM I NATION

The Concluding Observations The UN Human Rights Committee published its “Concluding Observations” on Ireland on 24 July 2014. The Committee’s headline recommendations reflected the majority of concerns communicated to them by the CSO delegation in Geneva. These included:

Abortion

Symphysiotomy survivor Matilda Behan pictured with her daughter at the launch of the Civil Society Joint Shadow Report on 13 June 2014

Symphysiotomy Centre Stage at Launch of ICCPR Shadow Report On 13 June 2014 the ICCL joined colleagues to launch our NGO Joint Shadow Report on Ireland under the ICCPR. This was an opportunity to highlight some of the major human rights issues covered in the report to the media in advance of the July 2014 hearings, particularly the issue of symphysiotomy which was being raised at the UN Human Rights Council for the first time. The launch attracted a great deal of media interest, and the personal testimony of symphysiotomy survivor Matilda Behan was covered across the broadcast and print media. Since the summer of 2014, the ICCL has worked closely with Survivors of Symphysiotomy to advocate for humanrights-compliant redress for the victims of this procedure. This has included vocal criticism of the Government’s waiver compensation scheme, which fails to meet international human rights standards. An update of this work will be included in the next issue of Rights News.

Ireland should “revise its legislation on abortion, including its Constitution, to provide for additional exceptions in cases of rape, incest, serious risks to the health of the mother, or fatal foetal abnormality”.

Institutional abuse of women and children Ireland should “conduct prompt, independent and thorough investigation into all allegations of abuse in Magdalene Laundries, children’s institutions and mother and baby homes, prosecute and punish the perpetrators with penalties commensurate with the gravity of the offence, and ensure that all victims obtain an effective remedy, including appropriate compensation, restitution, rehabilitation and measures of satisfaction.”

Symphysiotomy “The Committee expresses concern that symphysiotomy, childbirth operations which sever one of the main pelvic joints and unhinges the pelvis, was introduced into clinical practice and performed on approximately 1,500 girls and women in public and private hospitals between 1944 and 1987 without their free and informed consent.”

The webcast commences in the Human Rights Green Room , 14 July 2014

NGOs gather in ‘Human Rights Green Room’ to watch Geneva ICCPR Live-Stream While the ICCL’s policy team led a delegation to Geneva to brief the Human Rights Committee on Ireland’s human rights record, we also invited NGO and civil society groups to view Ireland’s ICCPR examination on 14 July 2014 via live webcast in our Dublin-based ‘Human Rights Green Room’. The Green Room provided a focal point for NGOs and civil society groups to follow the proceedings in Switzerland, and provide live reaction and analysis to journalists, stakeholders, and social media. The event ensured a sharp focus on the process in print and broadcast media, including extensive follow-up coverage of the hearing on 15 June, when the UN Committee Chair Sir Nigel Rodley made his hard-hitting concluding remarks on Ireland’s human rights record.

Ireland should “initiate a prompt, independent and thorough investigation into cases of symphysiotomy, prosecute and punish the perpetrators, including medical personnel, and provide an effective remedy to the survivors of symphysiotomy for the damage sustained, including fair and adequate compensation and rehabilitation, on an individualized basis. It should facilitate access to judicial remedies by victims opting for the ex-gratia scheme, including allowing a challenge to the sums offered to them under the scheme.” On the publication of the Concluding Observations, the ICCL called for a full Oireachtas debate on the observations, as well as the creation of an effective national implementation mechanism to ensure that the UN’s clear recommendations are implemented in full.


I R E LAN D’S ICCPR EXAM I NATION

Above: Irish NGO representatives flank ICCL Director Mark Kelly at a press conference on the UN’s Concluding Observations on Ireland on 24 July at Dublin’s Radisson Hotel

ICCL hosts Coordinated NGO Response to Concluding Observations On 24 July 2014 the ICCL held a joint NGO press conference in Dublin to coordinate civil society reaction to the UN Human Rights Committee’s “Concluding Observations” on Ireland. The conference was opened by new Minister of State for Equality, New Communities and Culture Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, and was attended by representatives of ICCL, Survivors of Symphysiotomy, The Irish Penal Reform Trust, the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Transgender Equality Network, Educate Together, Atheist Ireland and Pavee Point, who provided detailed reaction and analysis to the media. The Minister gave an undertaking to take the Concluding Observations “to the heart of government”. The Concluding Observations, and the ICCL’s call for an urgent Dail debate on their implications, received wide coverage across the print and broadcast media.

Minister of State, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD speaking at our ICCPR Press conference 24 July 2014

Brigid Quilligan of the Irish Traveller Movement and Broden Giambrone of TENI


PROMOTI NG J USTICE

GSOC Reform Draft legislation amending the 2005 Garda Síochána Act has been published which gives wider competencies to GSOC, including the power to open investigations into Garda policies and practice on its own initiative. It further empowers GSOC to investigate the Garda Commissioner – a power that is sorely lacking in the current legislation. However, gaps in the legislation remain. For example, in its current form, it gives the Minister for Justice a veto over GSOC investigations into the Commissioner.

Policing Authority Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Garda Maurice McCabe in Mullingar in May. Photo courtesy of Seamus Kiernan, Westmeath Topic.

ICCL Closely Monitoring Planned Garda Reforms Since the spate of Garda-related scandals erupted earlier in 2014, the ICCL has continued to closely monitor developments, consistently calling for a root and branch reform of Ireland’s Garda accountability structures.

‘Sea Change’ On assuming office early in the summer, the new Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD, made a commitment to overseeing a “this change” in the administration and oversight of justice and policing in Ireland, including through the further empowerment of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and through the establishment of an independent Garda Authority – a measure for which the ICCL has been calling for over a decade. The first signs of this change have begun to emerge. The Department of Justice has undergone a review of its operations and culture. An open recruitment process for a new Garda Commissioner was undertaken, with the permanent appointment in 25 November 2014 of interim Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan to the role.

Draft legislation outlining the shape of a future Policing Authority has also been published. The draft legislation echoes a number of recommendations made by the ICCL to the Oireachtas Justice Committee and the Department of Justice as to the form the prospective Authority should take. However, concerns around the handling of the Garda’s ‘national security’ and ‘intelligence’ functions within the new Authority remain. Furthermore, the ICCL expressed its surprise and disappointment when on 13 November 2014 the Department of Justice short circuited best practice by directly nominating senior public servant Ms Josephine Feehily as a Chairperson-designate of the new Policing Authority. The new Policing Authority must not only be, but be seen to be, wholly independent and impartial, and the ICCL strongly believes that this appointment by Government fiat can only be cured if the genuinely independent statutory appointment process foreseen for the Authority’s ordinary members is also applied to its Chair. The ICCL will closely monitor the passage of these crucial pieces of legislation and associated statutory processes over the coming months, and highlight remaining gaps and oversights contained in the draft provisions. The ICCL is also eagerly awaiting the outcome of the Fennelly Commission, tasked to investigate revelations of unlawful recording of solicitor-client conversations in Garda stations, which we expect to emerge in the New Year.

• Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) • Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)

The JUSTICIA European Rights Network Welcomes New Members

• Hungarian Civil Liberties Union

We are delighted to announce that for the third year in succession, the ICCL secured European Commission funding to continue the JUSTICIA European Rights Network.

• Latvian Centre for Human Rights

As a measure of its continued success, the Network has expanded considerably in recent months and we are delighted to welcome new members from Italy, Romania, Sweden, Estonia, Cyprus, Slovenia, Austria and Croatia. The network now includes the following 19 organisations:

• Irish Council for Civil Liberties • KISA - Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism (Cyprus) • League of Human Rights (Czech Republic) • Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (Austria) • Open Society Institute Budapest Foundation • Rights International Spain • Statewatch (UK)

• Associazione Antigone Onlus (Italy)

• The Peace Institute (Slovenia)

• Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania – the Helsinki Committee

The Network will continue to focus on EU criminal justice policy, specifically the rights of victims of crime and procedural rights. In particular, the Network will closely monitor the progress of the European Commission proposals on Legal Aid Reform, and Special Safeguards for Vulnerable Suspected and Accused Persons. This forward-looking agenda will be accompanied by detailed cross-jurisdictional analysis of the implementation of enacted legislation such as the Procedural Rights Directives and the Victims’ Rights Directive.

• Bulgarian Helsinki Committee • Civil Rights Defenders (Sweden) • Croatian Law Center • Estonian Human Rights Centre • Greek Helsinki Monitor


PROMOTI NG J USTICE

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald speaks to press on arrival to the VRA JUSTICIA Victims Rights Event

Minister Fitzgerald launches JUSTICIA/Victims’ Rights Alliance International Victims’ Rights Conference On 14 November 2014, the Victims’ Rights Alliance (VRA) in conjunction with the ICCL-led JUSTICIA European Rights Network hosted a major international conference entitled Implementing and Enforcing the Victims’ Rights Directive in the European Union.

would appear to be lacking as the Inspectorate has also found that there is no formal process to monitor the quality and service provided to victims. Overall, it seems clear that there is an inconsistent approach to updating victims and no national Garda standard as to how or when contact with victims should take place. The EU Victims’ Rights Directive provides a useful framework within which Garda practice in this area could be enhanced and we welcome the Inspectorate’s recommendation that the information provided by the Gardaí to victims should be updated in the light of the Directive.”

The conference took place in The Pillar Room of the Rotunda Hospital, and was opened by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald TD. The date by which EU countries must transpose the Victims’ Rights Directive is 15 November 2015 and the conference focussed on the requirements to ensure compliance by member states. In particular, the conference discussed the provision of information, support and protection and how this can best be achieved in practice. Speakers underlined the need for the development of a national implementation plan for Ireland, to ensure that the Directive is fully implemented by the deadline. Speakers included Sue O’Sullivan, Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime in Canada, Susheel Gupta, Vice President of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, (then interim) Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and other victim support service providers and experts throughout the EU. The conference came in the wake of fresh revelations in the Garda Inspectorate’s latest report of serious deficiencies in the Garda Síochána’s approach to victims of crime. ICCL Director Mark Kelly told the conference that: “The Inspectorate’s report on crime investigation rightly notes that frontline gardaí and detectives recognise the importance of updating victims, but often cannot find the time to do so. Incentives for this to improve

Minister Frances Fitzgerald with Maria McDonald of the VRA


SECU R I NG EQUALITY

ICCL Continues its Advocacy for Women’s Reproductive Rights Following the enactment of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, abortion law reform remains one of the ICCL’s top strategic priorities for the medium to long term. Summer 2014 saw the controversial case of Miss Y hit the headlines, which as of writing is the subject of an HSE review. The story came just weeks after Ireland faced tough questioning from the UN Human Rights Committee regarding both the practical effectiveness, and the serious limitations of the 2013 Act.

Repeal of the 8th Amendment It is clear from recent and ongoing developments that the current legal regime in Ireland covering access to abortion is not fit for purpose and continues to deny women respect for their human rights, including the right to life, health, privacy and bodily integrity. Sir Nigel Rodley, a former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, speaking in his role as Chair of the UN Human Rights Committee, declared that Irish law treats women as no more than “vessels” and that it is very difficult to understand the continued criminalisation of women in Ireland with respect to access to abortion. Ultimately, the fundamental obstacle to achieving full respect to women’s human rights is Article 40.3.3 of our Constitution. On 8 September 2014, Mark Kelly, ICCL Director, presented the ICCL’s current stance and plans on abortion rights reform at the recently-held Repeal the 8th Amendment Conference in Dublin. The ICCL was delighted to support our partners in modest sponsorship of the event, the popularity of which demonstrated the huge well of desire for this essential and long-overdue change in the Irish constitutional framework on reproductive rights.

“the recognition of the primary right to life of the woman who is an existent human being has to prevail over that of the unborn child and I can’t begin to understand by what belief system the priority would be given to the latter rather than the former … Life without quality of life is not something many of us have to choose between, and to suggest that regardless of the health consequences of a pregnancy a person may be doomed to continue it at the risk of criminal penalties is difficult to understand, even more so arguably for rape where the person doesn’t even bear any responsibility and is by the law clearly treated as a vessel and nothing more”. Sir Nigel Rodley , Chair of the UN Human Rights Committee, speaking at the conclusion of Ireland’s Fourth Periodic Examination under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on 15 July 2014


SECU R I NG EQUALITY

Commission Members pictured with President Higgins at Áras An Uachtaráin on 31 October 2014. Rear L-R: Liam Herrick, Fidèle Mutwarasibo, Siobhán Mullally, Frank Conaty, Mary Murphy, Mark Kelly, Teresa Blake, Betty Purcell, Ray Murphy. Front L-R: Sunniva McDonagh, Heydi Foster-Breslin, Kieran Rose, President Michael D. Higgins, Emily Logan, Orlagh O’Farrell, David Joyce.

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Formally Established 1 November 2014 marked the formal establishment of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) as Ireland’s new independent statutory human rights and equality institution, bringing together the former Irish Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority.

On the eve of the establishment of IHREC at a State reception at Áras An Uachtaráin, President Michael D. Higgins formally presented warrants of appointment to the body’s newly-appointed Chief Commissioner Emily Logan, and to the Commission members, including ICCL Director Mark Kelly.


SECU R I NG EQUALITY

Yes Equality Register to Vote Campaign a Resounding Success On 3 November 2014 the ICCL joined the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) and Marriage Equality to launch Yes Equality, a joint campaign to encourage people to register to vote by the 25 November Register of Electors deadline, ahead of next year’s referendum on civil marriage equality. Launched in Cork City by ‘No Limbs No Limits’ campaigner Joanne O’Riordan and Eoin Murphy, goalkeeper for All-Ireland Hurling Champions Kilkenny, the campaign ran throughout the month of November in collaboration with BeLonG To, LGBT equality organisations across the country as well as the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), Students’ Unions and Trade Unions. Over the course of the three week initiative, tens of thousands of first-time voters across the country registered to vote in a first step towards making their voices heard in next years’ marriage referendum. Events were held across the country on campuses and in town centres promoting voter registration. In UCC over 3,700 people were registered to vote; in Trinity College 3,000 people and in Maynooth 2,500 people signed up in just a few examples of the initiative’s on-campus impact. Meanwhile, the campaign made a great impression online, where the Yes Equality Facebook page received over 20,000 followers in 3 weeks. Yes Equality has received personal endorsements from a host of celebrity supporters, including Colin Farrell, Anjelica Houston, Hozier, The Script, Aidan Gillen, Damien Dempsey,

Victoria Smurfit, Christy Moore, Dara O’Briain. Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, Tánaiste Joan Burton TD, Fianna Fáil leader Michael Martin TD, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams TD, as well as from TDs Senators and councillors from right across the country. The positive reaction to this initiative bodes well for turnout at the upcoming referendum on civil marriage equality in 2015, but we cannot be complacent. Now that it is clear the referendum will be held in May 2015, the ICCL, Marriage Equality and GLEN will be encouraging the tens of thousands of people energised by our voter initiative to begin the conversation with friends, families and loved ones as to why making their voices heard on polling day is so important.

Above: Kilkenny Goalkeeper Eoin Murphy pictured with Joanne O’Riordan. Below: Yes Equality activists working on the campaign in campuses across Ireland.


SECU R I NG EQUALITY

Some of the Yes Equality celebrity supporters: Anjelica Huston, Victoria Smurfit, Rory O’Neill, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Brendan Courtney, Dara O’Briain, Aiden Gillen, Christy Moore & Colin Farrell.


ICCL N EWS, EVE NTS & PU B LICATIONS

L-R Tanya Ward CEO of the Children’s Rights Alliance, Minister for Health Dr James Reilly TD and Mark Kelly, Director of the ICCL

ICCL and Children’s Rights Alliance launch new ‘Know Your Rights’ Guide on Children’s Rights On 26 November 2014, Dr James Reilly TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs launched the latest in the ICCL’s Know Your Rights public information series. ‘Know Your Rights – The Rights of Children and Young People’ was produced in partnership with the Children’s Rights Alliance, and is the first guide of its kind which seeks to comprehensively and accessibly outline the rights of children and young people in Ireland. As with the rest of the ICCL’s Know Your Rights series, the guide has been awarded a Plain English mark by the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA). The ICCL and Alliance plan to roll out the guide in the New Year through roadshow and public information events nationwide. In the meantime, the guide is available to read online via www.knowyourrights.ie.

Know Your Rights Guide on the Rights of Children and Young People


ICCL N EWS, EVE NTS & PU B LICATIONS

ICCL Director Elected to Key European Anti- ICCL and Children’s Rights Alliance launch new Torture Role ‘Know Your Rights’ Guide on Children’s Rights The ICCL’s Board has wholeheartedly welcomed the appointment on 26 November 2014 of ICCL Director Mark Kelly ), in his individual capacity, as a member of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT). Mr Kelly’s appointment by the 47-nation Council of Europe follows a multi-stage merit-based appointments process conducted at Irish, European Parliamentary and European Inter-Governmental levels. ICCL Co-Chair Mr Niall Mulligan said: “The Board of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties wholeheartedly welcomes the appointment. Mr Kelly has been Director of the ICCL since 2006 and in that time has been in the forefront of protecting and upholding human rights in Ireland. He will be a valuable member of the CPT and we wish him well in this challenging new European role”.

On 26 November 2014, Dr James Reilly TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs launched the latest in the ICCL’s Know Your Rights public information series. ‘Know Your Rights – The Rights of Children and Young People’ was produced in partnership with the Children’s Rights Alliance, and is the first guide of its kind which seeks to comprehensively and accessibly outline the rights of children and young people in Ireland. As with the rest of the ICCL’s Know Your Rights series, the guide has been awarded a Plain English mark by the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA). The ICCL and Alliance plan to roll out the guide in the New Year through roadshow and public information events nationwide. IN the meantime, the guide is available to read online via www.knowyourrights. ie.

Mr. Kelly’s election follows a multi-stage merit-based appointments process conducted at Irish, European Parliamentary and European InterGovernmental levels. Mark Kelly and Dara Robinson L-R: Michael Staines, CPT members serve in their individual capacities and do not visit the ICCL Launches Project on the Right to Access Council of Europe member States in respect of which they have been to a Lawyer elected, so Mr. Kelly will not participate in future CPT visits to Ireland. This new European is on part-time basis,project and Mr On 30 June 2014, theappointment ICCL launched itsanew EU-funded onKelly the will remain the Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. right to access to a lawyer. The launch, held in the Law Society, was an opportunity to explore the changed legal landscape in this area following the Supreme Court judgment in DPP v Gormley and White on the right of access to a lawyer during Garda questioning, and the resulting DPP guidance. At the launch, Michael Staines, Principal, Michael Staines & Co and Dara Robinson, Partner, Sheehan & Partners took part in a wideranging discussion on best practice on provision of legal advice in Garda stations, given this changed environment. The discussion, led by Mark Kelly, ICCL Director and Consortium Leader of JUSTICIA, brought together key actors within the criminal justice process including government officials, criminal law practitioners and others working directly or indirectly with people who come into contact with the criminal justice system. The event was also an opportunity to launch a second edition of our Know Your Rights Guide on Criminal Justice and Garda Powers. The pack, which is available on www.knowyourrights.ie, has been updated in light of the recent Supreme Court judgment and DPP guidance on access to a lawyer. Further changes to the law on the collection of DNA evidence, the establishment of the DNA Database system and Garda vetting have also been included.

Breaking New Ground for Human Rights: ICCL Annual Report 2013 Published Irish Council for Civil Liberties

Annual Report

Breaking New Ground For Human Rights

In July 2014 the ICCL was delighted to publish Breaking New Ground for Human Rights, our 2013 Annual Report. The report showcases the work of the ICCL throughout 2013, a ‘fulcrum’ year, where significant gains were made for the advancement of human rights and equality in Ireland. The report outlines our contributions to Constitutional Convention’s discussions of civil marriage equality and blasphemy; our engagement at Oireachtas and Council of Europe level on the furtherance of women’s reproductive rights; our reporting work at the United Nations on human rights and the prevention of torture; and our continuing pan-European JUSTICIA project on the rights of accused persons and victims of crime. ICCL Annual Report 2013

Breaking New Ground for Human Rights is available to read online via our website www.iccl.ie. A limited number of hardcopies are also available. Please contact info@iccl.ie.

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ICCL N EWS, EVE NTS & PU B LICATIONS

ICCL Welcomes New Project Officer to Team We would like to welcome Pia Janning, who joined the ICCL team in November 2014 as Project Officer (Justice).Together with her colleagues in the Research and Policy Team she is currently working on a number of ongoing priorities for the ICCL including the pan-European JUSTICIA Project and our Flagship Legacy Project. Pia has a degree in Law from University College Cork and an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex. Prior to joining the ICCL, Pia worked as the Legal Officer in the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Team at Amnesty International Ireland and as Human Rights Officer in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has also carried out work for the Irish Human Rights Commission, the Irish Family Planning Association, the Children’s Legal Centre UK and the former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of health. She recently directed and produced her first human rights documentary ”La Violencia - the Untold Truths of Guatemala”, which is being screened at numerous international film festivals. The Agora Building, Council of Europe, Strasbourg. Headquarters of the CPT. Photo Council of Europe.

ICCL Director Elected to Key European Anti-Torture Role The ICCL’s Board has wholeheartedly welcomed the appointment on 26 November 2014 of ICCL Director Mark Kelly, in his individual capacity, as a member of the Council of Europe’s European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT).

Pia Janning

Mr Kelly’s appointment by the 47-nation Council of Europe follows a multi-stage merit-based appointments process conducted at Irish, European Parliamentary and European InterGovernmental levels.

ICCL Co-Chair Mr Niall Mulligan said: “The Board of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties wholeheartedly welcomes the appointment. Mr Kelly has been Director of the ICCL since 2006 and in that time has been in the forefront of protecting and upholding human rights in Ireland. He will be a valuable member of the CPT and we wish him well in this challenging new European role”. CPT members serve in their individual capacities and do not visit the Council of Europe member States in respect of which they have been elected, so Mr. Kelly will not participate in future CPT visits to Ireland. This new European appointment is on a part-time basis, and Mr Kelly remains the Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

Rights News, Issue 29, Autumn/Winter 2014 ISSN 1649-9530

Rights News 29 Autumn Winter 2014  

A bumper Autumn/Winter 2014 edition of Rights News, the quarterly newsletter of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Ireland's independent...

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