15 June 2020
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has welcomed significant advances for human rights in the (draft) programme for government published today. We especially welcome the commitments to end Direct Provision and bring in a law to prevent hate crime.
ICCL Executive Director, Liam Herrick, said:
“The Direct Provision system has facilitated significant human rights abuses for too long. Along with hate crime, it lends itself to some of the most serious violations to which Black people, people of colour and anyone seeking international protection are subjected in our country. These commitments are particularly welcome in the context of the international conversation on racism which is currently taking place.”
In early May, ICCL submitted 18 calls for human rights reform to the three negotiating parties. We are very pleased to see strong commitments to ten of those calls, including the establishment of an Electoral Commission; reform of An Garda Síochána as envisioned by the Commission on the Future of Policing; the creation of an independent inspection system for all places of detention; the establishment of safe zones for access to abortion; a referendum on the Right to Housing; the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use; the outlawing of image-based sexual abuse (commonly known as revenge porn); and strong protections against facial recognition technology.
Other positive commitments include a commitment to examine new protections for people discriminated against because of their socio-economic status and a commitment to amend the law on discrimination based on gender identity; ensuring that local authorities draw down all funding available for Traveller accommodation; and abolishing wardships (where people deemed incapacitated are denied autonomy in dealing with the Courts).
However, we are also disappointed that some straightforward reforms that would have real impact on all of our lives are not specifically mentioned. We had called for an end to the illegal and discriminatory Public Services Card project; a Citizen’s Assembly on Brexit; and the full implementation of EU fair trial standards in our justice system. However, we are pleased to see that civil society initiatives regarding Brexit on the island will be supported. We also called for an Ombudsman for Victims of Crime which has not been included though we are glad to see a commitment to full implementation of the Victims of Crime Directive.
Mr Herrick concluded by saying
“This is a very ambitious and positive programme for government. ICCL will be using these commitments to hold the new government to account and to continue to advocate for human rights for every person in Ireland.”
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Find our 18 calls for human rights here: https://www.iccl.ie/icclsubmission-on-programme-for-government-may-2020/
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties is one of Ireland’s leading independent human rights bodies, and the only one with a dedicated programme of work on privacy and information rights. We monitor, educate and campaign to secure all human rights for everyone.
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