Business and Human Rights in Ireland

Business and Human Rights in Ireland

The Irish Centre for Human Rights, in conjunction with the School of Law, held a one-day conference on 24 March 2012 entitled Ireland and the United Nations Framework for Business and Human Rights. Drawing on the conference, and under the principal authorship of Dr Shane Darcy, the Centre produced the Business and Human Rights in Ireland Report. The report’s launch was covered extensively in the media, including the Irish Times, Public Interest Law Alliance and the Galway Advertiser

In September 2013, the Irish Centre for Human Rights made a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the issue of business and human rights which can be downloaded here. ICHR Submission to the Human Rights Committee. This submission was reflected in the list of issues adopted at the 109th session of the Committee, in which the following request was put to Ireland:

"Please provide information on how the Government addresses concerns regarding the activities of private businesses based in the State party that may lead to violations of the Covenant outside the territory of the State party."

Dr Shane Darcy has recently created a blog, Business and Human Rights in Ireland, dedicated to tracking and analysing developments relating to business and human rights in Ireland. It aims to address legal and policy issues, as well as highlighting human rights concerns raised by the activities of Irish companies or multinational corporations based in Ireland.

For further details contact: Dr Shane Darcy (shane.darcy@nuigalway.ie)

Riding Along With Racism

Research on the Galway Taxi Industry: Employment Opportunities, Patterns of Public Use and User Perceptions

The Riding Along With Racism Report‌ attracted considerable medial attention, including from the Irish Times, the Irish Newswhip, Galway Advertiser, Galway Tribune, and Ireland TV3. In addition, multiple internet discussion forums have also emerged with continued discussion on the Report and its findings

The report was carried out by the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway. The Centre launched an investigation in July this year to examine racially based tensions in the taxi industry within the city. The interest of the Irish Centre for Human Rights arises from the nature of the institution itself, part of its mandate being community engagement and contribution, as well as its position as Essential Partner in the Galway City Partnership Anti-Racism Strategy. Its capacity is attested to by an international reputation as a leading institution for human rights research, teaching and advocacy.

Dr. Vinodh Jaichand, Deputy Director of the Centre, led this methodological, evidence-based research into the question of racism within the Galway city taxi industry, focusing on employment opportunities and user practices and perceptions. The results of this research form a concise, but also encompassing report, which can replace untested statements and often reactionary comments with detailed knowledge and a deeper understanding.

The report is addressed immediately to the people, associations and institutions of Galway, but also more widely to the national government and Irish society as a whole. Recommendations are directed to NUI Galway, the Irish Centre for Human Rights itself, the Equality Authority, the media, Galway City, Galway Chamber of Commerce, the Gardai, the Government of Ireland, and the general public.

Dr. Jaichand positions the report within a context where, “Racism has become an increasingly noticeable element in the backdrop to Galway life. Nationally and locally, reports of race-based incidents reflect an increase in the growing anxieties of the general population, due to the inevitable hardships of a recession and intensified competition over jobs and resources. Racial discrimination should never be justified and accommodated because human rights are not a luxury to be observed only when we are a well-off society.”

Protecting and promoting human dignity has been the foundation of work at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway since its inception in 2000. The Centre pursues this work in all contexts, internationally and locally, through research, teaching, advocacy and community engagement. Speaking during the recent tenth anniversary celebrations of the Centre, the Director, Professor William Schabas said that, “This report, which we believe will have real consequences in addressing local tensions in Galway, confirms the contribution that the Irish Centre for Human Rights makes to the city.” He added that, “This is a fundamental issue that should concern us all, one which requires prompt attention to correct the situation.”

For any enquiries please contact Dr. Vinodh Jaichand on +353 (0)86 167 8682, vinodh.jaichandnuigalway.ie.

Amicus Curiae - Forcible Transfer & International Humanitarian Law

Since November 2007, the Israeli Military Commander has required Palestinians residing in the West Bank, but whose registered address is in the Gaza Strip, to hold a valid “temporary residence permit” to remain in the West Bank. The procedures for securing such permits, their terms and availability, are unclear and have not been published or promulgated in any official Order. Since 2007, the Military Commander has expelled Palestinian residents who do not hold such permits from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. According to information provided by the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, 34,681 Palestinians who live in the West Bank are listed as having a Gaza Strip address within the Israeli records, and therefore are potentially subject to involuntary relocation to the Gaza Strip.

In response to the policy, HaMoked: the Center for the Defence of the Individual, together with 15 other Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations, filed a joint petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice requesting an order nisi prohibiting the respondents from removing Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip based on their erroneously registered address in the Israeli held copy of the Palestinian population registry. Dr Noam Lubell and Doctoral Research Fellow, Nathan Derejko drafted an amicus curiae brief on the legal implications of Israel’s policy of involuntary transfer. The opinion was attached to the petition submitted to Israel’s High Court of Justice on the 25 May 2010.

The expert opinion examined the legality of the Israeli policy under international humanitarian law, evaluating whether such action violates the prohibition of individual or mass forcible transfers or deportations of protected persons from occupied territory as codified under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The opinion concluded that any Palestinian present within the West Bank qualifies as a protected person under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Consequently, notwithstanding limited exceptions that were shown to be inapplicable to the current case, any involuntary relocation of Palestinians from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip is unequivocally prohibited and amounts to a serious violation of Israel's obligations under international law

The Case is currently pending before the Court as HCJ 4019/10, Hamoked, the Centre for the Defence of the Individual v the Military Commander of the West Bank.

 

An English translation of the Amicus Curae petition is available here

A copy of the Amicus Curie brief can be downloaded here

Further information on this case available here

Human Rights Through the Lens

As part of our 10th Anniversary celebrations, the Irish Centre for Human Rights put together a collection of photography relating to the human rights experiences of staff and students. Entitled  'Human Rights through the Lens', the project  involved the production of a book of photographs taken by alumni in the course of human rights work, activities or experiences that they have been involved in after having graduated from the Centre. The photographs were also printed, mounted and displayed throughout the Centre for the official launch of the project during the 10th Anniversary celebrations.

The books are available to purchase from the Centre and the Human Rights Through the Lens report can be viewed here

Burma- Situation of the Rohingyas in North Arakan State

The report on the situation of the Rohingyas can be viewed here

In August 2008 the Irish Centre for Human Rights received funding from Irish Aid to launch a project on the human rights situation of the Rohingyas/Muslims of Rakhine State in Western Burma/Myanmar. As part of the project a research unit was established at the Irish Centre for Human Rights to carry an open source research and take part in a fact-finding mission and the drafting of a report under the supervision of Prof. William Schabas.

In 2009, Nancie Prudhomme (project manager and researcher) and Joseph Powderly (project researcher) undertook a 4-week fact-finding mission to gather more detailed, first-hand and new information about the situation of the Rohingyas in Western Burma. As part of their mission Nancie and Joseph visited Burma and Thailand. In Thailand, they had meetings on the
situation of the Rohingya "boat people" pushed back to sea at the beginning of 2009 and on the status of the Rohingya issue within Asia generally and more specifically at the ASEAN level.

As part of the fact-finding mission the researchers also spent two weeks in Bangladesh visiting refugee camps and interviewing Rohingya refugees and human rights and humanitarian workers. The researchers were joined in Bangladesh by Mr. John Ralston, Executive Director of the International Institution for Criminal Investigation and former Chief of Investigations at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and for the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry for Darfur. The team interviewed Rohingya victims in and around refugee camps in Bangladesh. The mission in Bangladesh provided detailed information on the causes for flight to Bangladesh and the current situation in Western Burma.

 The report of the Rohingya project was officially launched on June 16 th, 2010 by Micheál Martin, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, at Iveagh House.

the Press Release on the Burma report can be viewed here

Scholars At Risk

The Irish Centre for Human Rights is a proud member of the Scholars at Risk Network and is currently hosting a Scholar at Risk. 

Around the world today, scholars are attacked because of their words, their ideas and their place in society. Those seeking power and control work to limit access to information and new ideas by targeting scholars, restricting academic freedom and repressing research, publication, teaching and learning. The Scholars at Risk Network (SAR) is an international network of universities and colleges responding to these attacks. Scholars at Risk members save lives by providing sanctuary to professors, lecturers, researchers and other intellectuals who suffer threats in their home country. Through temporary academic positions, SAR members help scholars to escape dangerous conditions and to continue their important work. In return, scholars contribute to their host campuses through teaching, research, lectures and other activities. Many scholars return to their home countries after their visits. When safe return is not possible, SAR staff works with scholars to identify opportunities to continue their work abroad. The benefits are clear: Scholars are free to live and work without fear. SAR members gain talented academics and inspiring, courageous educators. The world benefits from solidarity among universities, greater awareness of current threats to academic freedom, and deeper appreciation of the vital role of higher education and scholarship in free societies.