Conferences & symposia

Upcoming Conferences and Symposia

Upcoming conferences will be advertised here.

Conferences in 2012-2013

Ireland and the Human Rights Council: where to from here?


The Irish Centre for Human Rights, School of Law, NUI Galway, and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties hosted a one day seminar at NUI Galway on 1 February 2013 entitled ’Ireland and the Human Rights Council – Where to From Here?’. The seminar explored the challenges and opportunities presented by Ireland’s recent election to the United Nations Human Rights Council. For a full programme see here


22nd EU-China Human Rights Seminar Hosted at NUI Galway



The 22nd EU China Human Rights Seminar was hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway from 30-31 October 2012. The event brought together approximately 50 Chinese and European academic and civil society experts from some 28 institutions, as well as a small number of officials from both sides, to discuss human rights issues of mutual concern. The topics discussed at the two-day conference were ’Human Rights, the Environment and the Right to Development’ and ’Protecting the Rights of Migrant Workers’.
 
Background
The EU has been taking part in a twice-yearly Human Rights Dialogue with the Chinese authorities since 1996. This political process has been supported since 1998 at the academic level by the EU-China Human Rights Seminar process. Responsibility for logistical organisation of the Seminars on the Chinese side has continuously resided with the Law Institute of the Chinese Academy for Social Science (CASS), China’s leading academic institute in the area of the social sciences. The Irish Centre for Human Rights is the longest serving institutional organiser of the event in Europe, having been awarded a three year contract to lead the strategic development of the Seminar process in 2002 and a second four year contract in March 2009.
 
The October 30-31 event was part of the EU-China Human Rights Seminar process. It was also a special event for the Irish Centre for Human Rights, since it is the first time the official Seminar was hosted here in Galway.


Complaints to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IRELAND

Monday, 14 May 2012.
National University of Ireland Galway

Organised and hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights – Children’s Rights Working Group

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified human rights treaty. Nevertheless, children worldwide continue to suffer violations of their rights without recourse to an effective remedy.

On 19 December 2011, the UN General Assembly approved a third optional protocol to the Convention on a communications procedure, which will allow for individual children to submit complaints regarding specific violations of their rights under the Convention. It is a major achievement for the protection of children's rights. Ensuring widespread ratification of the third optional protocol will nevertheless be a challenge.

Ireland has not yet ratified the third optional protocol, but by doing so, it will demonstrate its commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the communications procedure. This Symposium aimed to consider the relevance of the protocol and opportunities for Ireland to lead in the ratification process.

The Symposium was held on May 14th 2012 at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Speakers included Dr. Maria Herczog (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child), Geoffrey Shannon (Special Rapporteur to the Irish Government on Child Protection) and Tanya Ward (Chief Executive, Child Rights Alliance).

The Symposium culminated in a call, signed by all those present, to the Irish Government for the ratification of the Optional Protocol on a Complaints Procedure.


IRELAND AND THE UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK FOR BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

On 24 March 2012 this one-day conference was held at the National University of Ireland Galway.

Organised by the Irish Centre for Human Rights and the School of Law, NUI Galway, the  conference explored and analysed issues of law and policy for Ireland arising from the 2011 adoption by the United Nations of  Professor John Ruggie’s framework for business and human rights. The framework emphasises a State’s duty to protect human rights, a corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the need to provide remedies to respond to violations of human rights by business. 

This conference looked beyond the voluntary corporate social responsibility approach to business and human rights; as Maurice Manning, President of the Irish Human Rights Commission has observed, “voluntarism can never be a substitute for global standards on businesses' mandatory compliance with human rights”. 

Contributions addressed legal questions which arise in relation to the UN framework on business and human rights. Ireland represents an obvious case study in this context, given the presence of numerous multinational corporations, increasing privatisation of public services and allegations of corporate involvement in human rights violations both in and outside of Ireland. 

The conference focused on the following topics:

  • ·         Legal and policy approaches to regulation of Irish companies for human rights
  • ·         Obligations of the State and companies when public functions are privatised
  • ·         Role of extraterritorial jurisdiction in Irish law to address violations committed overseas by Irish companies or multinationals based here
  • ·         The potential role of criminal law to address violations of human rights by business
  • ·         Civil litigation as a means of accountability – lessons from the Alien Tort Claims Act
  • ·         Remedies for victims

The conference was attended by over 80 delegates, and papers were delivered by legal academics and practitioners from the US, the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Italy. Among them were Professor Anita Ramasastry (University of Washington), Dr. Nadia Bernaz (Middlesex University, London), Dr. Tony Royle (NUI Galway), Mr Nicholas McGeehan (European University Institute, Florence), Mr. Alan Brady (Trinity College, Dublin), and Dr. Corrine Lewis (Lex Justi Law Firm, Brussels). 

The conference was organised by Dr Shane Darcy, Dr Ciara Hackett, and Ms. Hadeel Abu-Hussein.

Conference Archive

2012-2013

Ireland and the Human Rights Council: where to from here?


The Irish Centre for Human Rights, School of Law, NUI Galway, and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties hosted a one day seminar at NUI Galway on 1 February 2013 entitled ’Ireland and the Human Rights Council – Where to From Here?’. The seminar explored the challenges and opportunities presented by Ireland’s recent election to the United Nations Human Rights Council. For a full programme see: http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=203


22nd EU-China Human Rights Seminar Hosted at NUI Galway



The 22nd EU China Human Rights Seminar was hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway from 30-31 October 2012. The event brought together approximately 50 Chinese and European academic and civil society experts from some 28 institutions, as well as a small number of officials from both sides, to discuss human rights issues of mutual concern. The topics discussed at the two-day conference were ’Human Rights, the Environment and the Right to Development’ and ’Protecting the Rights of Migrant Workers’.
 
Background
The EU has been taking part in a twice-yearly Human Rights Dialogue with the Chinese authorities since 1996. This political process has been supported since 1998 at the academic level by the EU-China Human Rights Seminar process. Responsibility for logistical organisation of the Seminars on the Chinese side has continuously resided with the Law Institute of the Chinese Academy for Social Science (CASS), China’s leading academic institute in the area of the social sciences. The Irish Centre for Human Rights is the longest serving institutional organiser of the event in Europe, having been awarded a three year contract to lead the strategic development of the Seminar process in 2002 and a second four year contract in March 2009.
 
The October 30-31 event was part of the EU-China Human Rights Seminar process. It was also a special event for the Irish Centre for Human Rights, since it is the first time the official Seminar was hosted here in Galway.
 
For more information on the EU-China Human Rights Seminars project see: http://www.nuigalway.ie/human_rights/projects/euchina.html.


Complaints to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IRELAND

Monday, 14 May 2012.
National University of Ireland Galway

Organised and hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights – Children’s Rights Working Group

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified human rights treaty. Nevertheless, children worldwide continue to suffer violations of their rights without recourse to an effective remedy.

On 19 December 2011, the UN General Assembly approved a third optional protocol to the Convention on a communications procedure, which will allow for individual children to submit complaints regarding specific violations of their rights under the Convention. It is a major achievement for the protection of children's rights. Ensuring widespread ratification of the third optional protocol will nevertheless be a challenge.

Ireland has not yet ratified the third optional protocol, but by doing so, it will demonstrate its commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the communications procedure. This Symposium aimed to consider the relevance of the protocol and opportunities for Ireland to lead in the ratification process.

The Symposium was held on May 14th 2012 at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Speakers included Dr. Maria Herczog (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child), Geoffrey Shannon (Special Rapporteur to the Irish Government on Child Protection) and Tanya Ward (Chief Executive, Child Rights Alliance).

The Symposium culminated in a call, signed by all those present, to the Irish Government for the ratification of the Optional Protocol on a Complaints Procedure.


IRELAND AND THE UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK FOR BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

On 24 March 2012 this one-day conference was held at the National University of Ireland Galway.

Organised by the Irish Centre for Human Rights and the School of Law, NUI Galway, the  conference explored and analysed issues of law and policy for Ireland arising from the 2011 adoption by the United Nations of  Professor John Ruggie’s framework for business and human rights. The framework emphasises a State’s duty to protect human rights, a corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the need to provide remedies to respond to violations of human rights by business. 

This conference looked beyond the voluntary corporate social responsibility approach to business and human rights; as Maurice Manning, President of the Irish Human Rights Commission has observed, “voluntarism can never be a substitute for global standards on businesses' mandatory compliance with human rights”. 

Contributions addressed legal questions which arise in relation to the UN framework on business and human rights. Ireland represents an obvious case study in this context, given the presence of numerous multinational corporations, increasing privatisation of public services and allegations of corporate involvement in human rights violations both in and outside of Ireland. 

The conference focused on the following topics:

  • ·         Legal and policy approaches to regulation of Irish companies for human rights
  • ·         Obligations of the State and companies when public functions are privatised
  • ·         Role of extraterritorial jurisdiction in Irish law to address violations committed overseas by Irish companies or multinationals based here
  • ·         The potential role of criminal law to address violations of human rights by business
  • ·         Civil litigation as a means of accountability – lessons from the Alien Tort Claims Act
  • ·         Remedies for victims

The conference was attended by over 80 delegates, and papers were delivered by legal academics and practitioners from the US, the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Italy. Among them were Professor Anita Ramasastry (University of Washington), Dr. Nadia Bernaz (Middlesex University, London), Dr. Tony Royle (NUI Galway), Mr Nicholas McGeehan (European University Institute, Florence), Mr. Alan Brady (Trinity College, Dublin), and Dr. Corrine Lewis (Lex Justi Law Firm, Brussels). 

The conference was organised by Dr Shane Darcy, Dr Ciara Hackett, and Ms. Hadeel Abu-Hussein. 


conferences 2011-2012

INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW AND HUMANITARIAN ACTION

  
Presented by the Irish Red Cross and the Irish Centre for Human Rights 

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 
10.00am -2.00pm 
Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. 

Humanitarian personnel are increasingly facing risk of death, injury or kidnapping in the course of their work in situations of armed conflict. In particular, there is increasing evidence of violence against health-care personnel as well as medical facilities and transport and all this at a time when there is a growing number and diversity of actors engaged in humanitarian action. Never before has it been more important for humanitarian personnel, and those responsible for their safety, to understand the legal protections afforded to them in situations of armed conflict.

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) or the  law of armed conflict, a part of public international law, is a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in hostilities including specifically the sick, wounded, shipwrecked, prisoners and civilians not taking direct part in the hostilities as well as medical and religious personnel, civil defence staff and humanitarian workers  .

In order to raise broader understanding of the relevance of International Humanitarian Law to humanitarian personnel and the significant work they undertake, the Irish Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in partnership with the Irish Society of International Law and the Irish Centre for Human Rights, School of Law, NUI Galway, is hosted this conference on International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Action.

Chaired by journalist and broadcaster Karen Coleman, this event was limited to 80 participants with a particular interest in the protection of humanitarian action and included the following speakers:

Mr. Len Blazeby, Legal Advisor, International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Protection of Humanitarian Assistance: the legal framework 

Dr. Ray Murphy,  Irish Centre for Human Rights, School of Law, NUI Galway.

Challenges of the Legal Framework for the Protection of Humanitarian Assistance

Lt. Col. Jerry Lane, Legal Advisor, Irish Defence Forces.

The Military Perspective on the Protection of Humanitarian Assistance


This conference was also accompanied by a photographic exhibition,  Humanity  in War: Frontline Photography since 1860, which included some of the most powerful images from the archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross. 


PROFESSOR KEVIN BOYLE AND HIS WORK: SATURDAY 11 JUNE 2011 

 

An international tripartite video-conference between the National University of Ireland Galway, Queen’s University Belfast, and the University of Essex, in honour of the life and work of Professor Kevin Boyle. 

 

 

  • Saturday 11 June 2011 | 10am - 1pm, NUI Galway                                                      


Panelists Included: 

  • Professor Sir Nigel Rodley
  • Professor William Schabas 
  • Professor Tom Hadden
  • Dr. Corinne Lennox 
  • Walter Kirwan
  • Professor Brice Dickson 
  • Marie McGonagle 
  • Darren Dinsmore
  • Tony Fisher               

Professor Kevin Boyle, who passed away on 25 December 2010 at the age of 67, was one of Ireland’s greatest human rights lawyers. He began his career at Queen’s University Belfast in the late 1960s. There, he was deeply engaged in the civil rights movement. He moved to the National University of Ireland Galway in the late 1970s where he took the initiative to launch the Irish Centre for Human Rights. The last two decades of his life were spent at the University of Essex, where he directed its human rights centre. In addition to his enormous academic contribution, Kevin Boyle was active with important international NGOS such as Article 19, of which he was the founding director. He served as a special advisor to Mary Robinson when she was High Commissioner for Human Rights. He appeared frequently before the European Court of Human Rights, winning important cases that dealt with a broad range of issues, including freedom of expression, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and torture. The Conference was jointly organized by the three Universities where Kevin Boyle spent his career. It sought to give proper tribute to his work and focused on the wider themes in human rights with which he was most engaged. 

 

 

CONFERENCES  2010-2011

 

CUSTOMARY LAW, TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: June 18-19, 2010

Co-hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights (ICHR), National University of Ireland, Galway, the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program, University of Arizona, Middlesex University, the Natural Justice Peruvian Society for Environmental Law (SPDA) and the United Nations University, Institute for Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), this two day conference covered issues pertaining to customary law, traditional knowledge and human rights.


Corporations and Armed Conflict: The Role of International Law

The Irish Centre for Human Rights and The Geneva Institute of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights co hosted a conference addressing the intersection of corporations, conflicts and human rights. The aim of the conference was to explore the extent to which International Human Rights Law and Humanitarian Law are adequate to deal with the role of business in conflict, given existing gaps in the law, current norms and attempts to hold private sector actors accountable. While there has been much discussion about the topic of business and human rights, the issue of business in conflict zones and international humanitarian law in particular, has been less explored.

The proceedings from the conference will be available here soon.

For further queries, please contact Ms. Alexis Bushnell:  a.bushnell1nuigalway.ie.


CONFERENCES 2009-2010

Irish American Exchange on human rights

 On October 9-10, 2009, the Irish Centre for Human Rights and the Notre Dame Law School collaborated on the inaugural “Irish-American Exchange on Human Rights." The event brought together faculty and students from two premier institutions of human rights education—the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame Law School, and the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland-Galway. The meeting was a series of presentations and responses on various human rights issues.

Bringing “the Center ” and “the Centre” together is a natural fit, explains Assistant Director and Concurrent Assistant Professor of Law Sean O’Brien. “Both institutions are led by scholars at the top of their fields – Prof. Doug Cassel from Notre Dame and Prof. Bill Schabas from Galway. The teaching, research, and advocacy conducted by both institutions are well known around the world and have trained hundreds of top-notch human rights lawyers between them” says O’Brien. “We expect this exchange to become an annual and much-anticipated event.” Next year’s exchange will take place on the campus of the National University of Ireland-Galway


Conference on Alternatives to Prison: Pushing for Policy Change

The MA in Public Advocacy & Activism at the Huston School of Film & Digital Media co-hosted with The Irish Centre for Human Rights a conference on the current prison system and alternatives to prison took place in NUI Galway on May 1st, 2009.

This one day conference explored the potential for alternatives to the current system of incarceration in Ireland, in line with the Concluding Observations of the UN Human Rights Committee on Ireland in 2008. Alternatives to the current trends towards increasing incarceration are necessary, especially in the current economic climate, which increases the relevance of pursuing progressive alternatives in this sphere today.


8th Annual Doctoral Seminar 2009

The annual Irish Centre for Human Rights PhD Seminar took place from 4-8 May, at the Irish Centre Seminar Room. Speakers included Professor Douglass Cassel, Professor Francoise Hampson, Professor Louis Wolcher, Professor William A. Schabas and Dr. Michael Kearney. The program included presentations by the expert speakers, as well as presentations by Doctoral Candidates on their current research. 


Shirin Ebadi Lecture

The Irish Centre for Human Rights, Amnesty International and Scholars at Risk  co-sponsored a lecture by Iranian lawyer, rights activist and 2003 Nobel Prize Winner, Shirin Ebadi. Ebadi founded the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran and has significantly promoted efforts for democracy and human rights, particularly, women's, children's, and refugee rights.


CONFERENCES 2008-2009

EU Lecture Series

The Irish Centre for Human Rights (ICHR) hosted an EU lecture series, The European Union as a force for the Promotion of Human Rights - In Europe and Abroad.  The series focus is the commemoration of the Treaty of Rome and assessment of the growing importance of human rights issues within European Union activities since the Treaty of Rome. The following speakers were included in the series; Mr. Paul Hardy, Desk Officer for Human Rights in East and South East Asia and DG External Relations; Ms. Nuala Mole, Founder and Director of the AIRE Centre; Professor William Schabas, Director of Irish Centre for Human Rights; Mr. Geoffrey Harris, Head of the Human Rights Unit within the Secretariate General of European Parliament.


Seminar Series: Challenges of International Justice

The Irish Center for Human Rights hosted the University of Washington's Program on "The Challenges of International Justice". This program will provided a firsthand study of the major international tribunals. The series examined the history of international justice, and how the international community works to promote justice and accountability for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. It followed the history and recent developments at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR.) The series also explored the so-called “hybrid courts” in Sierra Leone, East Timor and Cambodia, and the unique challenges facing those courts today. 


The Right to Enjoy the Benefits of Scientific Progress and its Applications - Expert meeting

The Irish Centre for Human Rights together with UNESCO and the Amsterdam Center of International Law organised and hosted an Experts' Meeting on the Right to Enjoy the Benefits of Scientific Progress and its Applications (REBSP), from 22 to 24 November 2008, in Galway, Ireland. The purpose of the meeting was to further clarify the state obligations emanating from article 15§ 1(b) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (lCESCR) by looking at the tripartite typology of obligations, the 4 .A-scheme, as well as the obligations that may emerge in relation to the REBSP from other human rights. It also further developed the work undertaken at a previous meeting in Amsterdam (June 2007).


Conference on the Responsibility to Protect

The Irish Centre for Human Rights co-hosted with STAND and Amnesty International a conference on the "Responsibility to Protect" in Galway, Ireland on April 4-5, 2008. The conference had a dual nature in which the first part of the conference focused on educating participants about genocide, the responsibility to protect doctrine, and mechanisms for responding. The second part focused on establishing a STAND network and developing campaigns to respond.  


Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of UDHR

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Wednesday, 10 December, with a series of events on campus. Film screenings, a public lecture, a photography exhibition and a concert, marked the signing in 1948 of one of the most prominent and enduring foundational documents of international human rights law. For more information please click  here.


Judges As Lawmakers Seminar Series

The Irish Centre for Human Rights announced the inaugural lecture of the  Judges as Lawmakers? Lecture Series, 2008-2009Professor William A. Schabas, O.C. will delivered a lecture entitled  ’The Development of the Law of Genocide by the Ad Hoc Tribunals’. Further details are available  here.


Conferences 2007

Conference on the Diplomacy of Human Rights

On 7 December 2007, the Irish Centre for Human Rights co-sponsored with the University of Paris II a bilingual conference on the theme of "The Diplomacy of Human Rights", which was hosted by the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris. This one day event discussed various aspects of human rights diplomacy, from an analysis of the main actors involved (NGOs, states, local associations), to an overview of its objectives and the means to achieve them, both from a European and broader international perspective. This multi-faceted discussion was made possible by the gathering of Irish and French speakers from the worlds of diplomacy, law (practitioners and academics) and NGOs.


Conference on Peacekeeping and Africa

The Irish Centre for Human Rights and Amnesty International hosted a Conference on Peacekeeping and Africa on May 26th 2007, sponsored by Irish Aid. The conference took place in the Arts Millennium Building, National University of Ireland, Galway. 


Conferences 2006

Taking CEDAW Seriously

In March 2006 the ICHR sponsored and participated in the successful conference titled’Taking CEDAW Seriously’.


Language and Law Conference

The international, trilingual (English, French and Irish) conference in NUI Galway, organised by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge and the Irish Centre for Human Rights, called for the protection of language diversity around the world at its plenary session on 16 June, 2006 in Galway. The ’Galway Declaration’ was passed unanimously by the attendees.

Delegates from over 20 countries supported the call to UNESCO to protect the world’s linguistic diversity. Dr Joseph Turi, Secretary General of IALL/IADL (International Academy of Linguistic Law/Académie Internationale de Droit linguistique) proposed the call.


International Conference on The Slobodan Miloseviæ Trial: The Verdict

An assessment of the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, bringing together leading international experts on the trial itself, and on international criminal justice was held on 29-30th April 2006 at the National University of Ireland, Galway. The Conference assessed the strengths and weaknesses of the trial, and evaluate its contribution to justice and peace.


Conferences 2005

Past, Present and Future Policies of the EU in the field of Human Rights, Peace and Security

On 30 September to 2 October 2005, the Irish Centre for Human Rights hosted the 6th annual conference of the Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI) at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

AHRI is an independent network of human rights institutes with the aim of promoting education, research and discussion in the field of human rights. Established in 2000, there are currently 17 members of AHRI. The Secretariat is presently based at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights in Oslo.

The 2005 conference was dedicated to an intergovernmental European research project on the theme of "Human Rights, Peace and Security in the Field of EU Foreign Policy". More information on this COST-project (European Co-operation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research) can be found on the  home page of the AHRI Secretariat.


Reframing Islam: Politics into Law: 10-11 September 2005

The importance of Islam in both the domestic and international political landscape is unquestionable. Recent events have highlighted certain aspects of Islam. Issues related to contemporary political Islam occupy the writings of academics, journalists and commentators. Yet little attention has been paid to what exactly Islamic political thought is and the way its political ideas originated, developed and changed over the past 1400 years. Islamic political movements today are rooted in Islamic political thought, its ideas and historical precedents, and their actions and ideas cannot be understood without an awareness of this topic. The Irish Centre for Human Rights hosted a two-day conference, which explored these issues and the complexity of Islam in both politics and Law. Reframing Islam: Politics into Law brought together academics and activists from across regions for interchange and debate.

Speakers included were: Tariq Ramadan, Ann Mayer, Muqtedar Khan, Jillian Schwedler and Salwa Ismail.


Future Developments in Refugee Law: May 28, 2005

The Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI, Galway jointly with the Human Rights Centre, Faculty of Law, Queens University Belfast arranged a one day conference on the future developments in Refugee Law.

Professor James C. Hathaway, the James E. and Sarah A. Degan Professor of Law of University of Michigan was key note speaker. Professor Hathaway is a leading authority on international refugee law whose work is regularly cited by the most senior courts of the common law world.

Other speakers include; Professor Colin Harvey, Dr. Siobhan Mullally, Ms Cathryn Costello, Ms Dallal Stevens and Ms Ciara Smyth.


Conferences 2004

ICHR and UNU Tokyo host highly successful international conference on "Accountability for Atrocity".

On July 15th and 16th the Irish Centre for Human Rights and the United Nations University, Tokyo , co-hosted a major international conference on the theme of Accountability for Atrocity. The conference, held in the Arts Millennium Building, was a huge success, boasting twenty participants and over 150 delegates from countries the world over.

The conference was formally opened on the 15th with an address from Minister of State Noel Treacy. Minister Treacy was standing in for Minister Tom Kitt, who has responsibility for human rights, who had left for Darfur the previous day.

The first day of the conference examined the issues of Prosecutorial Strategy of International Criminal Tribunals and Courts, Prosecutorial Discretion and Independence and Impartiality of International Criminal Tribunals. Chairs of the sessions were Professor Sharon Williams of Osgoode Hall Law School , Professor Bart Brown of Chicago Kent Law School and Judge Maureen Harding Clark of the International Criminal Court respectively. The day culminated in a panel discussion, comprising the entire day's participants.

 The morning session was chaired by the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Theodor Meron, and focused on Obstacles to Accountability: Amnesties and Immunities. Speakers on the panel included Professor Michael Scharf of Case Western Reserve University , Professor Leila Sadat of Washington University School of Law, and Professor Jeremy Rabkin of Cornell University , who stimulated much debate amongst the audience. The afternoon session on Alternatives to Prosecution was chaired by Former President of Ireland and Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson. Mrs. Robinson opened the proceedings to a packed theatre and received a rapturous welcome. Speakers for the afternoon were Gerald Gahima, Former Procurator-General of Rwanda , Catherine Jenkins of the University of London , Ian Martin, Vice-President of the International Center for Transitional Justice, and Peter Baehr, Form. This two-day conference was the first joint project undertaken by the ICHR and the UN University, Tokyo . However, if the success of this one and the demand for more conferences like this are anything to go by, it won't be the last.


"Towards the Abolition of the Death Penalty, A Conference in Honour of Sean MacBride"

The Irish Centre for Human Rights co-organized a conference with the Irish Cultural Centre and the Human Rights Centre of the Université de Paris II, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sean McBride. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and head of Amnesty International in its formative years, Sean McBride is one of Ireland's most distinguished human rights personalities. The conference included a one-day session on the abolition of capital punishment (McBride's own father was executed for his participation in the Easter Rebellion), and a Saturday morning session on McBride, his contribution to human rights and his legacy. Distinguished speakers included Senator Robert Badinter, who was minister of justice in France when it abolished capital punishment in 1981 and Maurice Manning, President of the Irish Human Rights Commission.


Conferences 2003

"Global Trade and the Implications for Human Rights"

Speakers include: Professor William A. Schabas, Director, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI, Galway; Jim Loughran, Amnesty International; Dr. Eleanor Doyle, University College Cork; Dr. Joshua Castellino, Irish Centre for Human Rights; Angela Hegarty, University of Ulster; Dr. Su-ming Khoo, NUI, Galway; Johanna Gibson, Brunel University, London; Dr. Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua, ICHR; Daniel Aguirre, ICHR. 

June 20, 2003

An International Development Conference to honour the visit of Nelson Mandela was held in NUI, Galway on Friday, June 20th 2003. Titled, 'Economic Development, Human Rights and Aid: A new partnership for Africa’s Development – Ireland’s Role.

Amongst the speakers were Prof. William A. Schabas, Richard Kozul-Wright (UNCTAD, Geneva), Maura Leen (Centre for Development Studies, University College Dublin), David Begg (Secretary General, Irish Congress of Trade Unions),Kwadwo Appiagyei-atua (Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway), Seán Love (Amnesty International), Karen Kenny, (Director, International Human Rights Network), Tom Hanney (Ireland Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin), Tom Arnold (Concern), John O’Shea (Goal), Deirdre Corbett (Bothar) and Justin Kilcullen (Trocaire).

The Fifth Biennial Conference of The International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS)

The International Association of Genocide Scholars held sessions dealing with a variety of related themes including: the role of "bystander" and "accomplice" states and organizations; issues of denial; the role of the mass media; children and genocide; evaluations of intervention; the role of international criminal tribunals, international law and truth commissions; after-effects for victims and their communities; and prevention strategies including early warning systems, education and other methods. Papers focused on events of the past, contemporary issues, and prospects for the future.


Conferences 2002

International Conference on Truth Commissions and Court

Truth commissions and courts are two different approaches to accountability for past human rights violations - this conference explored the issues and difficulties that arise with respect to these two approaches and the relationship between them. The subject was examined in light of the experience of truth commissions in South Africa, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, Sierra Leone and elsewhere. The issues of prosecutions, amnesties and reparations were discussed in relation to truth commissions and to national, international and "mixed" courts. The contributions of courts and commissions to the seeking of historical truth were also be considered.

Speakers: David Crane (Prosecutor, Special Court for Sierra Leone); Professor William A. Schabas (Irish Centre for Human Rights, Galway, and member, Sierra Leone Truth & Reconciliation Commission); Paul Van Zyl (Program Director, Legal and Technical Assistance, International Centre for Transitional Justice); Neil Kritz (Director, Rule of Law Program, United States Institute of Peace); Patrick Burgess (Director of Human Rights Unit, UNTAET); Tristram Hunt (University of London); Eduardo Gonzalez (Coordinator, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Peru); Andras Vamos-Goldman (Head of Canada’s Permanent Mission to the UN); Graeme Simpson (Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in South Africa); Martin Imbleau (Quebec Bar, Montreal); Angela Hegarty (University of Ulster); Maggie Popkin (Due Process of Law Foundation, Washington); Susie Kemp (Legal Director, Centre for Human Rights Legal Action, Guatemala); Dr. Ken Attafuah (National Reconciliation Commission, Ghana); Paul Mageean (Committee on the Administration of Justice, Belfast).


Conferences 2001

"Conference on the Abolition of the Death Penalty"