Human Rights

Monitoring Human Rights

The ICCL plays a watchdog role by tracking the Government’s compliance with its obligations under human rights law and by ensuring that Ireland is held to account before international human rights bodies.

We regularly prepare legal analyses of proposed legislation or conduct original research on pressing issues to educate the public and decision-makers on gaps in human rights protection.

We also co-ordinate or contribute to NGO ‘shadow reports’ which are relied upon by human rights bodies to get an independent illustration of  Ireland’s compliance with its human rights obligations.

In some instances, the ICCL makes presentations directly to the United Nations (UN) and Council of Europe (COE) human rights bodies in order to inform their final conclusions on Ireland. The ICCL’s most recent activities on this front took us to Geneva where we and our NGO partners briefed the UN on Ireland’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


Some of our Current Special Projects and Campaigns:

Bringing Human Rights to Life

The ICCL works to improve the capacity of groups representing marginalised communities, in particular to support them to use human rights tools.

For example, the ICCL is working with Amnesty International (Irish Section) on a ‘shadow reporting’ kit to enhance the capacity of organisations to report to international treaty bodies.

Raising Awareness of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is the regional human rights treaty of the Council of Europe. Ireland is one of 46 countries which have signed up to the ECHR and it was recently given further effect in Irish law through the ECHR Act 2003. The ICCL promotes awareness of this Act through its policy and research work, by delivering training on human rights proofing and producing information material on the ECHR.

Calling for Robust Privacy Standards

The ICCL campaigns to safeguard the right to private life in Ireland in accordance with Article 8 (right to private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Current laws protect some aspects of privacy but neglect others. The ICCL is conducting ongoing research on the gaps present in Ireland’s privacy regime.

We are also actively calling for the introduction of better safeguards of privacy in Ireland in the areas of data protection, surveillance and biometric identity. Most recently the ICCL campaigned at the 2008 Electric Picnic in Stradbally Co Laois, collecting over 3000 signatures for an open letter to Minister for Justice, calling for the introduction of robust laws for the protection of our privacy.


EVENT: Abortion Laws and Human Rights - Global Experiences

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  • October 31, 2017

The International Network of Civil Liberties Organisations (INCLO), along with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), invites you to a day-long conference from 8:30am on 8 November at Science Gallery Dublin, to hear from organisations and activists working on reproductive rights, as well as a keynote address by UN women’s rights expert, Frances Raday.

Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and lunch will be provided. Registration, with coffee, will begin at 8:30am. Please RSVP to

ICCL and Digital Rights Ireland host Public Meeting on Public Sector Cards

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  • October 4, 2017

Irish Council for Civil Liberties and Digital Rights Ireland will be hosting a public meeting on the introduction of public service cards and the national biometric database. The meeting will take place between 11am – 1pm on Wednesday, 11th October 2017 at Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.


Key Questions on Public Service Cards still Unanswered

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  • August 30, 2017

Last Thursday, August 24th, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) wrote to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform seeking clarifications regarding the operation of the Public Service Card system. These questions remain oustanding, and ICCL is working with partners to maintain pressure on Government to address the serious privacy issues presented by the Card system. 

ICCL to meet with UN Committee Against Torture

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  • July 25, 2017
"State urgently needs an independent monitoring and inspection body covering all places of detention”, ICCL tells UN Torture Committee   Tomorrow (Wednesday 26th July 2017), the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) will address the UN Committe...

ICCL Welcomes UN Human Rights Committee Decision in Whelan v Ireland

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  • June 13, 2017

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties today welcomed the ruling of the UN Human Rights Committee in the case of Whelan v. Ireland. The ruling, made available today, finds that the effect of Ireland’s abortion laws was to subject a woman to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and violated her rights to privacy and to non-discrimination, in circumstances where her pregnancy was identified as involving fatal foetal impairment.

International Network of Civil Liberties Organisations Seeks Communications Consultant

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  • June 9, 2017
The international Network of Civil Liberties Organisations (INCLO), of which ICCL is a member, is recruiting a Comunications Consultant to support its work.  Dealdine for applications is 30th June, and details are set out here.   JOB DESCRIPTION A....

Royal Irish Academy/NUI Maynooth Conference on Human Rights

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  • June 8, 2017
ICCL Participating in Major Conference on Human Rights and Culture ICCL Board member Dr. Claire Hamilton will deliver a paper on "Human Rights, Social Sciences and the Siren Call of Security" at a Conference on Human Rights: Culture and Critique at ...

ICCL welcomes ‘historic announcement’ on Traveller ethnicity

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  • March 1, 2017
ICCL welcomes ‘historic announcement’ on Traveller ethnicity. Press Release Wednesday 1 March 2017   The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has welcomed this evening’s expected statement [1 March 2017 6.45pm] by the Taoiseach that the Ir...

The Constitutional and Human Rights Implications of BREXIT, North and South

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  • February 20, 2017

As the United Kingdom prepares to trigger Article 50, the potential impact of Brexit on the constitutional position of Northern Ireland and on the protection of human rights both North and South of the border is becoming an increasing cause for concern. Focusing on recent litigation in the UK and Irish courts around the BREXIT process, this seminar will explore the emerging legal issues for both legal systems on the island. Join legal experts, human rights lawyers and stakeholders in the BREXIT process for an open forum discussion chaired by former Supreme Court Judge Catherine McGuinness.


The Bar of Ireland, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the Committee for the Administration of Justice are hosting a joint seminar on BREXIT and its Constitutional and Human Rights Implications.

Permitting Pre-Clearance to Operate in Ireland May Violate Human Rights

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  • January 30, 2017
Joint Statement from Irish Human Rights Organisations   Monday, 30 January 2017   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE       President Trump’s Executive Order adopting a targeted ban on refugees and migrants from certain countries should be strongly and cat...
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