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Irish Left Review
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left

offsite link New Books Worth Reading Mon Sep 19, 2016 23:25 | Seán Sheehan

offsite link 13 Billion ? Lucky for some? Mon Sep 05, 2016 13:04 | Tony Phillips

offsite link Rebuilding Ireland: Long on Promise, Short on Detail Mon Aug 29, 2016 22:20 | Eoin O'Mahony

offsite link Brexit and Other Issues: Comments on the Current Situation Mon Aug 29, 2016 21:52 | Brendan Young

offsite link Bin Charges: From Private Circus to Public Service Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:38 | Michael Taft

Irish Left Review >>

Spirit of Contradiction

offsite link What is Dogmatism and Why Does It Matter? Wed Mar 21, 2018 08:10 | Sylvia Smith

offsite link The Case of Comrade Dallas Mon Mar 19, 2018 19:44 | Sylvia Smith

offsite link Review: Do Religions Evolve? Mon Aug 14, 2017 19:54 | Dara McHugh

offsite link Fake News: The Epistemology of Media Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:52 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason

offsite link Officials and Provisionals Sat Apr 01, 2017 22:54 | James O'Brien

Spirit of Contradiction >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Alison O’Connor and professional deceit

offsite link Educating Marian Finucane Anthony

offsite link Denis O’Brien: Are the sharks closing in? Anthony

offsite link Kathy Sheridan: Afraid to speak truth to power? Anthony

offsite link Una Mullally: The youth of Ireland are on the march Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

NAMA Wine Lake

offsite link Test ? 12 November 2018 Mon Nov 12, 2018 14:28 | namawinelake

offsite link Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake

offsite link Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake

NAMA Wine Lake >>

Human Rights - Wed Nov 14, 2018 16:13
Africa?s human rights body has taken a step backward in recent times. How can the African Commission on Human and Peoples? Rights expect governments to heed its call to end discrimination if the commission itself is not setting the proper example? The African Commission on Human and Peoples? Rights (ACHPR) has always been responsible for...

Africa?s human rights body has taken a step backward in recent times. How can the African Commission on Human and Peoples? Rights expect governments to heed its call to end discrimination if the commission itself is not setting the proper example?

The African Commission on Human and Peoples? Rights (ACHPR) has always been responsible for responding to violence and human rights violations that African governments inflict on their populations. However, it has not always succeeded in avoiding discrimination in its own actions, as demonstrated by its recent decision to revoke the observer status it had granted to the Coalition of African Lesbians.

As a result of that decision, the 63rd session of the ACHPR, held last month in Banjul, Gambia, was not just a polite formality. Human rights defenders in general and LGBTI activists in particular are upset about the ACHPR?s discriminatory actions.

The theme of the session was the fight against corruption in Africa, but many human rights defenders who traveled to the Gambia expressed their concern about the independence of the ACHPR from pressures exerted by the African Union. The African Union considers CAL to be too bold, espousing notions that are contrary to African values ??and traditions.

LGBTI activists fear that the withdrawal of CAL?s observer status is a sign of trouble, since their mission is to combat Africans? discrimination against LGBTI people in general and in this case lesbians in particular.

Back in 2014, the ACHPR approved Recommendation 275, which calls on governments to fight discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. There were signs of positive changes in people?s attitudes and increasing respect for human rights and freedoms. But the latest action of the ACHPR has been a step backwards. A homophobic step backwards.

Human rights defenders are now united in denouncing this injustice. They call on the leaders of the ACHPR to recognize the commission?s responsibility for eliminating the new climate of fear that now reigns in African civil society.

They should realize that they cannot expect governments not to discriminate against LGBT people if the ACHPR itself does so.

To be a human rights defender means accepting the responsibility for defending the rights of everyone without exception. In this case, it means not discriminating against identity organizations such as the Coalition of African Lesbians.

Steeves Winner, the author of this article, is an activist for LGBTI rights in Cameroon who writes under a pseudonym. Contact him at steeves.w@yahoo.com

Human Rights - Sat Aug 25, 2018 16:30
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, including many Nigerians have demanded the unconditional release of 112 pro-Biafra Imo women who were arrested, detained and remanded in Owerri prison for participating in a peaceful protest to demand the whereabouts of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu. 112 pro-Biafra Imo women...

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, including many Nigerians have demanded the unconditional release of 112 pro-Biafra Imo women who were arrested, detained and remanded in Owerri prison for participating in a peaceful protest to demand the whereabouts of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu. 112 pro-Biafra Imo women who were arrested, detained and remanded in Owerri prison for participating in a peaceful protest to demand the whereabouts of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu. The women were remanded in jail till September 3 by Magistrate S.K Durumba for embarking on a peaceful protest. It was also gathered that one of the women (a pregnant woman) who broke down in the court as a result of the alleged beaten earlier received from the police during the peaceful protest was said to have bled profusely before she was rushed to an undisclosed hospital. However, following their continued remand, the concerned Nigerians who condemned their incarceration called for their unconditional release.

Human Rights - Fri Aug 03, 2018 16:28
The traveller community in Galway are living in overcrowded, damp and mouldy accommodation with inadequate sewerage, insecure electricity, no facilities for children to learn or play safely. Many live in sites without regular rubbish collections and where their landlords carry out little to none maintenance despite the fact the Travellers are paying rent for their...

The traveller community in Galway are living in overcrowded, damp and mouldy accommodation with inadequate sewerage, insecure electricity, no facilities for children to learn or play safely. Many live in sites without regular rubbish collections and where their landlords carry out little to none maintenance despite the fact the Travellers are paying rent for their homes.

The findings, detailed in a report published on Friday, paint a picture of poverty and social exclusion for hundreds of Traveller adults and children across Galway city and county.

The report, compiled by the Galway Traveller Movement, examines conditions at 18 Traveller sites and group housing schemes. It is written as a ?response to over 18 years of prevarication, failed targets and tokenistic interaction? from local authorities, its authors say.

The UN group says: ?housing and accommodation is integrally linked to other human rights and is central to the fundamental underpinning of those rights? ? ie to the ?dignity of the human person?.

Adequate housing, it says, must have adequate space, protection from cold and damp, sustainable access to energy for cooking and lighting, be in a location allowing access to employment, healthcare and education, and enable the inhabitants? ?expression of cultural identity?.

Some 16 families, including 29 adults and 39 children, live at one Carrowbrowne transient site where ?pipes for sinks, showers, washing machines? are constantly blocked and ?water and sewerage comes up over the ground and through the bays?. There is no playground or green space. A second, temporary site in Carrowbrowne is home to 13 families, with 36 children. It is infested with rats and has plumbing and sewerage problems.

There is no alternative accommodation for any of the 16 families, including 25 children, at the overcrowded Cul Trá which is poorly maintained and has no play facilities. Also overcrowded is the seven-bay Tuam Road permanent site, which is home to 16 adults and 22 children.

Outside the city, eight sites and schemes were surveyed, including the six-bay Craughwell permanent halting site a mile outside the village. Families there have been waiting since 2006, when the county council first committed to redeveloping the site to adequate permanent housing.

Bathrooms in outhouses are ?not fit for use?, toilets leak and the units are ?too cold for washing? in. Doors are damaged, windows won?t close and there is no play area.

At Gort Bridge housing scheme outside Loughrea, all seven units are occupied. They are ?cold and damp?, yards are ?infested with rats? and barriers to the site mean emergency services cannot access it.

The report concludes both Galway City and Galway County Councils are breaching their Traveller tenants? international human rights.

Human Rights - Thu Jul 19, 2018 16:32
Terming the Human Rights Council as the United Nations? ?greatest failure?, US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley has alleged that the institution has provided cover for the world?s most inhumane regimes as she defended the Trump administration?s decision to withdraw from it. Last month, the US withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council and...

Terming the Human Rights Council as the United Nations? ?greatest failure?, US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley has alleged that the institution has provided cover for the world?s most inhumane regimes as she defended the Trump administration?s decision to withdraw from it.

Last month, the US withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council and condemned its ?shameless hypocrisy? in absolving wrongdoers through silence and falsely condemning those committing no offence, saying America will not take lectures from hypocritical institutions.

In her remarks at a top American think-tank ? The Heritage Foundation ? the Indian-American US Ambassador to the UN alleged that ?more often, the Human Rights Council has provided cover, not condemnation, for the world?s most inhumane regimes. It has been a bully pulpit for human rights violators.?

Alleging that Human Rights Council has been, not a place of conscience, but a place of politics, Ms Haley said the UN body has focused its attention unfairly and relentlessly on Israel.

Meanwhile, it has ignored the misery inflicted by regimes in China, Venezuela, Cuba, and Zimbabwe, she said.

?Judged by how far it has fallen short of its promise, the Human Rights Council is the United Nations? greatest failure,? Ms Haley said.

?It has taken the idea of human dignity ? the idea that is at the center of our national creed and the birthright of every human being ? and it has reduced it to just another instrument of international politics. And that is a great tragedy,? Ms Haley said, noting that she did not come to this conclusion happily, or lightly.

?Many of our friends urged us to stay for the sake of the institution. The United States, they said, provided the last shred of credibility the Council had. But that was precisely why we withdrew,? she said.

The right to speak freely, to associate and worship freely; to determine ones own future; to be equal before the law ? these are sacred rights, she asserted.

?We take these rights seriously ? too seriously to allow them to be cheapened by an institution ? especially one that calls itself the Human Rights Council,? she said.

Asserting that no one should make the mistake of equating membership in the Human Rights Council with the support for human rights, Ms Haley said to this day, the US does more for human rights, both inside the UN and around the world, than any other country. The US will continue to do that.

?We just won?t do it inside a Council that consistently fails the cause of human rights,? she said.

Ms Haley said America?s withdrawal from the Human Rights Council does not mean that it has given up its fight for reform.

?On the contrary, any country willing to work with us to reshape the Council need only ask. Fixing the institutional flaws of the Human Rights Council was, is, and will remain one of the biggest priorities at the UN,? she added.

Human Rights - Thu Jul 19, 2018 16:31
The Maldives remains a human rights priority country for the UK government, a report published Monday said, with the human rights situation continuing to deteriorate and an increase in the intimidation of human rights defenders and journalists. There was an increase in violent threats and intimidation against human rights defenders and NGOs, in particular against...

The Maldives remains a human rights priority country for the UK government, a report published Monday said, with the human rights situation continuing to deteriorate and an increase in the intimidation of human rights defenders and journalists.

There was an increase in violent threats and intimidation against human rights defenders and NGOs, in particular against those advocating for freedom of religion or belief, said the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The UK would continue to support human rights defenders, it said, and would work with international partners to press the Maldives to restore democratic freedoms including free and fair presidential elections scheduled for September.

?The UK will continue through public and private messaging to make clear to the Government of Maldives our concerns over the erosion of democracy and human rights.?

Other UK human rights priority countries include Somalia, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Russia.

Criticism of the Maldives government has rocketed since February, when President Abdulla Yameen imposed a state of emergency in response to a Supreme Court ruling ordering the release of political prisoners.

The UN human rights chief described the government?s actions as ?an all-out assault on democracy? while Amnesty International called it ?a license for repression, targeting members of civil society, judges and political opponents.?

The ranks of high-profile figures jailed or exiled since Yameen took office include two former presidents, two Supreme Court justices, two vice presidents, two defence ministers lawmakers and the country?s chief prosecutor.

The Maldives has also fallen in a press freedom index.

The European Union has approved targeted measures, such as travel bans and asset freezes, against those responsible for ?undermining the rule of law or obstructing an inclusive political solution and serious human rights violations? if the situation in the Maldives does not improve.

Human Rights - Wed Jul 18, 2018 16:38
The United Arab Emirates is facilitating torture, including sexual violence, beatings and electric shocks, in secretive prisons in southern Yemen, a new report from Amnesty International has alleged. Men suspected of belonging to either al-Qaeda or Isis have been forcibly disappeared in detention centres either run by UAE forces or Yemeni militias under their control...

The United Arab Emirates is facilitating torture, including sexual violence, beatings and electric shocks, in secretive prisons in southern Yemen, a new report from Amnesty International has alleged. Men suspected of belonging to either al-Qaeda or Isis have been forcibly disappeared in detention centres either run by UAE forces or Yemeni militias under their control since the country?s civil war broke out in 2015, the rights watchdog said in a new report published on Thursday.

Amnesty investigated the fate of 51 men swept up in the Arab coalition?s hunt for extremists since March 2016. Families who have formed protest groups to discover the whereabouts of loved ones say hundreds of men in total have been disappeared.

The findings reinforce recent reports from the Associated Press and local protest groups into alleged disappearances and abuses ? including that several activists, journalists and members of the Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood have been detained after terror-related accusations.

The collected evidence amounts to war crimes which should be immediately addressed in an international investigation, Amnesty says. Current and former detainees described widespread horrific treatment such as the use of electric shocks, severe beatings, anal rape with metal poles and being forced to live in cramped conditions.

?I saw things I do not want to see again. In that place, you do not even see the sun? Then one day, they released me at night, they said they had me confused with someone else? ?It was a mistaken identity, sorry?. It was as if they had done nothing after all the suffering I endured from electric shocks,? said one former detainee at a facility in Aden.

?The families of these detainees find themselves in an endless nightmare where their loved ones have been forcibly disappeared by UAE-backed forces,? Amnesty?s crisis response director Tirana Hassan said in a statement.

?When they demand to know where their loved ones are held, or if they are even still alive, their requests are met with silence or intimidation.?

The UAE has publicly denied all allegations of holding or abusing detainees.

?The UAE does not manage or run prisons in Yemen,? the government-run National Media Council said in a statement on Thursday.

?[We believe] that these reports are politically motivated to undermine its efforts as part of the Arab coalition to support the Yemeni government.?

The Emirates and Saudi Arabia are the exiled Yemeni government?s main allies in its fight to regain control of the country from Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran.

Since last year the UAE has also backed a militia known as the Southern Transitional Council, which seeks renewed independence for southern Yemen, and funded and trained various other local security forces which bypass the central Yemeni government.

?The UAE, operating in shadowy conditions in southern Yemen, appears to have created a parallel security structure outside the law, where egregious violations continue to go unchecked,? said Ms Hassan. The Arab coalition is backed by several western partners, including the UK and US, which also sell Abu Dhabi and Riyadh weapons Amnesty says have caused unnecessary civilian deaths in the brutal three-year-old war.
After the publication of a new AP report into UAE-run prisons in Yemen last month, several missing people have been released. However, Amnesty is calling on the coalition?s anti-terrorism partners to refuse intelligence information that may have been procured through torture, and for an international investigation into abuses which it says in the context of the Yemeni conflict amount to war crimes.

Original article >>> https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/yemen-war-crimes-investi...

Human Rights - Wed Jul 18, 2018 16:37
Violence increased throughout Mexico. The armed forces continued to undertake regular policing functions. Human rights defenders and journalists were threatened, attacked and killed; digital attacks and surveillance were particularly common. Widespread arbitrary detentions continued to lead to torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions. Impunity persisted for human rights violations and crimes under...

Violence increased throughout Mexico. The armed forces continued to undertake regular policing functions. Human rights defenders and journalists were threatened, attacked and killed; digital attacks and surveillance were particularly common. Widespread arbitrary detentions continued to lead to torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions. Impunity persisted for human rights violations and crimes under international law.

Mexico received a record number of asylum claims, mostly from nationals of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Venezuela. Violence against women remained a major concern; new data showed that two thirds of women had experienced gender-based violence during their lives. The rights to housing and education were compromised by two major earthquakes.

Early in the year an increase in gas prices caused social unrest, including road blockages, lootings and protests throughout the country, leading to hundreds of arrests and some fatalities. Throughout the year, security forces carried out a number of operations to crack down on a spate of clandestine robberies of petroleum. At least one of these security operations resulted in a likely extrajudicial execution by the army in May. The National Human Rights Commission raised concerns over deficient security measures in prisons that affected the rights of people deprived of their liberty. There were riots in prisons including in the states of Nuevo León and Guerrero, and a hunger strike in the federal maximum security prison at Puente Grande, Jalisco state.

The new adversarial criminal justice system, fully operational since June 2016, continued to replicate problems from the old inquisitorial system, including violations of the presumption of innocence and the use of evidence collected in violation of human rights and other illicit evidence. Bills were introduced in Congress that would weaken fair trial guarantees and expand the scope of mandatory pre-trial detention without a case-by-case assessment by a judge.

Congress approved long-overdue laws against torture and other ill-treatment and against enforced disappearance by state actors and disappearances committed by non-state actors. Legal reforms allowed the use of cannabis for medical purposes. Sustained public debates over the transformation of the federal Attorney General?s Office, responsible for law enforcement and prosecution, into an independent body were conducted during the year. In August, civil society organizations and opinion leaders presented a proposal for the design of this institution.

In October, the acting Attorney General removed the Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes, regarded as independent by different political forces, after he publicly reported being subjected to political pressure to disregard a high-profile corruption case.

Human Rights - Wed Jul 18, 2018 16:37
Residents of Northern Ireland risk losing citizenship rights linked to the Belfast Agreement due to new policies being drafted for Brexit, campaigners have warned. The 1998 Good Friday peace deal allows those born in Northern Ireland to be British, Irish or both, thereby also providing the rights of citizens of the European Union (EU). But...

Residents of Northern Ireland risk losing citizenship rights linked to the Belfast Agreement due to new policies being drafted for Brexit, campaigners have warned.

The 1998 Good Friday peace deal allows those born in Northern Ireland to be British, Irish or both, thereby also providing the rights of citizens of the European Union (EU). But under new Brexit proposals, Northern Ireland residents with Irish citizenship (plus those who identify as British but are entitled to Irish citizenship) risk losing a range of EU rights. These include access to the European Health Insurance Card, access to EU student fee rates, the right to vote for MEPs, plus the right to be joined by non-European Economic Area (EEA) family members.

A Northern Irish-based human rights group, the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), has now written to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker seeking urgent clarification amid concerns that draft policy for Northern Ireland ?departs from the commitments? made by the UK and the EU.

In a practical sense this would render Irish citizens in Northern Ireland as having fewer EU rights than Irish citizens resident in existing third countries. In the correspondence, seen by Belfast journalism website thedetail.tv, the CAJ said it was concerned the commission was departing from the commitments made in the EU-UK Joint Report published in December 2017 to frame the Brexit talks.

The UK and EU would have to commit to a special arrangement to reflect the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland. The CAJ is concerned that the position of the European Commission ?would remove access to almost all EU rights from Irish citizens in Northern Ireland.

It would limit Irish citizens in Northern Ireland to holding mostly ?dormant? EU rights that are only exercisable if the rights holder leaves Northern Ireland and takes up residence in another EU member state.

?In a practical sense this would render Irish citizens in Northern Ireland as having fewer EU rights than Irish citizens resident in existing third countries.?

The CAJ said the commission?s position ?also conflicts with the commitment to protect the [Belfast Agreement] in all its parts?.

In 2017 the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin received 82,274 applications from people in Northern Ireland for Irish passports, up from 45,646 in 2012. Wider concerns over the protection of rights in Northern Ireland were highlighted in June, when a joint statement from the Alliance Party, the Green Party, SDLP and Sinn Féin expressed ?profound concern that Brexit will result in further regression on equality and rights?.

Human Rights - Wed Jul 18, 2018 16:36
The Czechia government has expressed support for a same-sex marriage bill, sponsored by 46 members of parliament from different political parties. Czeslaw Walek, the founder of the Czech marriage equality movement Jsme Fer, has been campaigning for marriage equality since 2016. He told Human Rights Watch that the government?s move was important because 37 conservative...

The Czechia government has expressed support for a same-sex marriage bill, sponsored by 46 members of parliament from different political parties. Czeslaw Walek, the founder of the Czech marriage equality movement Jsme Fer, has been campaigning for marriage equality since 2016. He told Human Rights Watch that the government?s move was important because 37 conservative members of Parliament had submitted a bill a few days earlier to change the Constitution to include a provision limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman.

Both bills and the government?s opinion will be discussed in the lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies. If the majority votes for the marriage equality bill, it will be submitted to the Senate. Walek believes the Senate, which has veto power over all bills, is more conservative than the Chamber of Deputies on the issue of marriage equality but he was still hopeful the bill would pass.

If the bill passes in the Senate, it will go to President Milos Zeman, who can either approve or veto the bill. He hasn?t made his position public. Walek told Human Rights Watch: ?The path is long and curvy, but we are hopeful. The best-case scenario is that we will celebrate marriage equality in the Czech Republic during the Pride March of August 2019.?

Human Rights - Wed Jul 18, 2018 16:35
More food and drink has been sent to a pair of military ships off Sicily as Italy waited for other European nations to pledge to take some of the hundreds of migrants on board before allowing them to step on to Italian soil. Germany, Spain and Portugal each agreed to accept 50 of the migrants,...

More food and drink has been sent to a pair of military ships off Sicily as Italy waited for other European nations to pledge to take some of the hundreds of migrants on board before allowing them to step on to Italian soil. Germany, Spain and Portugal each agreed to accept 50 of the migrants, following similar offers by France and Malta on Saturday, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte said. But the Czech Republic rebuffed the appeal, calling the distribution plan a ?road to hell?.

Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini has vowed to prohibit further disembarking in Italy of migrants who were rescued while crossing the Mediterranean unless the burden is shared by other EU countries. Salvini, who leads the right-wing League party in Italy?s populist coalition government, told reporters Sunday the ?aim was for brotherly re-distribution? of the 450 rescued passengers on the two military ships.

Conte contacted fellow EU leaders Saturday, asking them to take some of the rescued migrants. But Czech prime minister Andrej Babis tweeted that his country ?won?t take any migrants?, dismissing Italy?s approach as a ?road to hell? that would encourage more migrant smuggling.

Human Rights in Ireland >>

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