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.


ICCL calls for transparent and timely process as Government refers Constitutional Convention recommendation to Oireachtas Committee

  • News Item
  • January 14, 2016
  The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has today (14 January 2016) expressed its disappointment at the Government’s failure to give a detailed and evidence-based response to the recommendation of the Convention on the Constitution on econo...

Your Rights. Right Now. Rights Audit Launched ahead of UN Scrutiny of Ireland

  • News Item
  • December 15, 2015
Rights Audit Launched Ahead of UN Scrutiny of Ireland Press Release - for immediate release   A coalition of 17 NGOs, trade unions and civil society groups, led by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) will today (15 December 2015) launch a n...

Access to abortion is a matter of human rights and equality says rights watchdog

  • Article
  • December 10, 2015

Today (10 December 2015) - International Human Rights Day - around a dozen Irish women will travel abroad to access abortions; healthcare procedures that remain criminalised in Irish law. Denying women safe and legal pathways to reproductive healthcare is a flagrant denial of women’s human rights and a violation of Ireland’s international human rights obligations the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has said. 

Signing Istanbul Convention will positively impact women - if followed through, says human rights watchdog

  • News Item
  • November 5, 2015
ICCL Press Statement 3.30pm, Thursday 05 November 2015   The ICCL welcomes the Government's commitment to combatting domestic violence and violence against women, as demonstrated today by Ireland's signature of the Istanbul Convention. Although we h...

ICCL-Backed Study Finds Hate Crime Must 'Come out of Shadows'

  • News Item
  • July 13, 2015
At our launch of #hatecrime research today @Blackhall99 @jschweppe @AHaynesTweets @AodhanORiordain @HHRGatUL — ICCL (@ICCLtweet) July 13, 2015 Press release, for release Monday 13 June 2015 11amHate crime in Ireland i...

'Hear me now' say filmmakers scooping top human rights prize

  • Article
  • June 18, 2015

Hamy Ramezan Photo.jpg Rungano Nyoni Photo.JPG

Acclaimed filmmakers Hamy Ramezan and Rungano Nyoni were awarded the Grand Prize this evening (Thursday 18 June 2015) at the seventh annual Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) Human Rights Film Awards, which was held in Dublin's Light House Cinema. The film was produced by Valeria Richter, who made headlines in Cannes last month when she was excluded from the red carpet for not wearing high heels.

Ramezan and Nyoni were honoured with the award for their Danish short film Listen- a tense fictional examination of cultural barriers and bureaucratic miscommunication set in a Copenhagen police station. The film follows a woman in a burqa who brings her young son to file a complaint against her abusive husband. But the translator assigned to her is unwilling to convey the true meaning of her words. The drama that plays out is a chilling reminder of the isolation that many victims can face when dealing with the authorities in a language not their own.

Ramezan and Nyoni are no strangers to acclaim for their filmmaking. Finnish/Iranian Hamy Ramezan's previous film, ˜Over the Fenceâ was a worldwide festival hit and was screened at more than 40 international film festivals, earning many awards. Nyoni - who was born in Zambia and grew up in Wales - has been nominated for an African Academy Award, a BAFTA and she was selected for the Cannes Cinefondation Residency 2013 for her upcoming feature film- I am not a Witch.

Commenting on the making of the film, Ramezan and Nyoni said: 

'We directed a cast and crew whose first languages were Danish and Arabic, which neither of us speak, so we had our own experience of miscommunication, at least at the beginning. After a dodgy first day, we learnt how to communicate, sometimes without even speaking the same language. Lots of big gestures and focus helped us to understand each other's needs - it was fascinating.'

Listen has already received plaudits at Cannes Directors' Fortnight, Toronto, and at Tribeca where this April it won for Best Narrative Short.

Attending the event on behalf of Ramezan and Nyoni were the film’s producers Valeria Richter & Helene Granqvist.

The ICCL Human Rights Film Awards Gala, which was held in a full house in Screen 1 of the Light House Cinema tonight, saw second place prize go to Spanish film ‘Barcelone ba Barsakh’, a dramatization of the struggles facing migrants crossing the Mediterranean, by Nacho Gil and Cristina Vergara. Third place prize went to ‘Let the Devil Sleep’, by Alan Whelan, Eoghan Rice and Elena Hermosa - a documentary following survivors of the Rwandan Genocide and their journey of reconciliation. Shortlisted filmmaker Simon Hipkins also accepted a Special Jury Award for his film Moving Lives: Misan a portrait of the life of a migrant Dublin Bus driver.

Commenting on the winning film today ICCL Director Mark Kelly said:

'Todays winning short film dramatizes the importance of the human right to be heard by officialdom more tellingly than any written report possibly could. It is a remarkably effective piece of human rights filmmaking, as well as cinema of the highest calibre. Congratulations to Hamy Ramezan and Rungano Nyoni on their remarkable achievement, which will assist the ICCL and others in their advocacy around this important right”.

Photos from the Red Carpet will be filed to news and photo desks from 8pm on Thursday 18 June by Paul Sharp of Sharp Pix. Paul can be reached at and at 0866689087

For further information, please contact:

Walter Jayawardene, Communications Manager, Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)

Mob: +353 87 998157


• The ICCL Human Rights Film Awards is a project of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL). It is Ireland’s first and only short film awards dedicated to human rights.
This year is the seventh annual instalment of the competition. 

Spanning a range of styles, and a mix of documentary and drama, this year’s six shortlisted films deal with a range of pressing human rights issues here in Ireland and internationally, including transgender recognition, victims of crime, racism, the plight of Mediterranean migrants and threats facing frontline human rights defenders. The shortlist can be viewed online at

•The shortlist was showcased at a�Gala screening at the Light House Cinema on the evening of 18 June 2015 from 7pm, where the Jury announced the winning film,�Listen.�A photocall took place on the Light House Cinema Plaza and red carpet from 7.30pm.�Awards Jury members attending included: Senator David Norris and documentary makers Pamela Yates and Paco de Onís. Attending the event on behalf of the winning Filmmakers was Danish film producer Valeria Richter, who made global headlines in Cannes last month after being excluded from the red carpet for not wearing high heels. (see ).

  •  Photos from the Red Carpet will be filed to news and photo desks from 8pm on Thursday 18 June by Paul Sharp of Sharp Pix. Paul can be reached at and at 0866689087

• The awards jury included prominent Irish Actors (Brian Gleeson, Victoria Smurfit, Brenda Fricker, Stephen Rea and Jack Reynor) awards winning Irish documentary and film makers (Tom Moore, Kirsten Sheridan, Pamela Yates, Paco De Onis, Nicky Phelan, Rebecca Miller, Grainne Humphreys, Ken Wardrop, John Kelleher) and Senator David Norris.

• The shortlist was chosen by a panel of experts in human rights and the Arts, including Pia Janning of the ICCL; Lynn Larkin, Project and Marketing Manager of Filmbase; John Maguire, Film Critic with the Sunday Business Post; Suzanne Egan of the UCD School of Law and last year’s Human Rights Film Awards winner Niamh Heery of Swansong Films.

• Hamy Ramezan, (photo HERE) Born in 1979, is a Finnish/Iranian Film Director and scriptwriter. He has studied film in England, graduating in 2007. His short film Over the Fence (Vikko ennen vappua, 2009) was a worldwide festival hit having screened at more than 40 international festivals and garnered eight prizes, including Best Live Action Short at Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival, Best Fiction at Curtocircuito Santiago de Compostela and special Mention at Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. Keys of Heaven (paratiisin avaimet, 2014) is the top short film project in Finland this year.

• Rungano Nyoni (photo HERE) is a Writer/Director born in Lusaka, Zambia and grew up in Wales, UK. She graduated from the University of the Arts with a Masters in Arts in 2009. In the same year her first short film The List won a BAFTA Cymru. Her subsequent film, Mwana the Great, was supported by Focus Features Africa First Programme and UK Film Council. Mwansa the Great was selected at over 100 International Film Festivals and has won over 20 prizes and was nominated for a Bafta in 2012. Rungano is currently writing her debut feature, I AM NOT A WITCH. The project was selected to participate in the Cinefondation Residency in 2013.








ICCL Statement on High Court proceedings involving Mr Denis O'Brien and RTÉ

  • News Item
  • June 2, 2015
The ICCL has noted that Mr Justice Donald Binchy has today (2 June 2015) confirmed that it was never the intention of his High Court order on 21 May 2015 in Denis O'Brien's application against RTÉ to restrict utterances in the Dáil or the reporting...

Video: Why Marriage Matters

  • Article
  • May 16, 2015

ICCL Statement re recent comments by media & political commentators from religious right

  • News Item
  • May 13, 2015
ICCL Statement The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has noted recent comments by certain media and political commentators from the religious right insinuating that the ICCL has received funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies that is being u...

Survivors of Symphysiotomy Being "Denied Effective Remedies", Rights Groups Say

  • News Item
  • May 1, 2015
Press Release - for immediate release Friday 1 May 2015 Survivors of Symphysiotomy and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) have expressed their "grave disappointment" at today's High Court judgment in a case involving a 'prophylactic' symphy...
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