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Call for Submissions: Irish Community Development Law Journal Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:01 | admin
Suicide and the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act: Where Are We Now? Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:00 | Máiréad Enright
Contesting the cruel treatment of pregnant women ? Ruth Fletcher Tue Aug 19, 2014 08:15 | GuestPost
Expertise on Abortion in Ireland Mon Aug 18, 2014 16:21 | admin
Suicide and the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act 2013. Sat Aug 16, 2014 15:13 | Máiréad Enright
admin - Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:01
Irish Community Development Law Journal is a peer reviewed online journal, published twice a year by Community Law & Meditation (formerly Northside Community Law & Mediation Centre) in Coolock, Dublin. The journal seeks to offer a platform for interaction that encourages greater scholarly and academic collaboration in the areas of social policy, law and community development,(...)
Irish Community Development Law Journal is a peer reviewed online journal, published twice a year by Community Law & Meditation (formerly Northside Community Law & Mediation Centre) in Coolock, Dublin. The journal seeks to offer a platform for interaction that encourages greater scholarly and academic collaboration in the areas of social policy, law and community development, promoting the practice of community economic development law and policy in Ireland and learn about these initiatives in other countries.
The deadline for submissions is Friday 17th Oct 2014
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights focusing in particular upon Social Welfare Rights.
This edition will examine economic social and cultural rights focusing in particular upon social welfare rights in times of economic and social crisis. Austerity has been the core budgetary strategy for several years now which has posed a real challenge for social welfare policy.
The challenges posed to social welfare policy have also highlighted the difficulties in enforcing the right to social security/assistance before the Courts in light of the fact that economic social and cultural rights generally are not directly justiciable.
With unprecedented high levels of unemployment and a very large percentage of the population dependent on social welfare payments as their only means of livelihood it is timely to consider whether the right to social security should be justiciable and to explore what human rights mechanisms could be relied upon in that regard. Given the impact of austerity and rising levels of poverty it is also important to consider whether it is incumbent upon the State to adhere to a minimum income threshold below which no person should be asked to live regardless of their circumstances
Submissions are welcome from practitioners and academics working across a broad spectrum of professions and academic disciplines.
If you are interested in writing an article, a book review or case?study, please email: email@example.com
To access previous editions of the journal and for more information, go to our new website here.
Máiréad Enright - Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:00
This piece is partially cross-posted from Critical Legal Thinking. Those not familiar with the facts of the case as reported by Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland can find a full account of those, and of the basic law behind this case there. In a sense I cannot add to, or improve upon, William Wall’s elegant reflection on(...)
This piece is partially cross-posted from Critical Legal Thinking. Those not familiar with the facts of the case as reported by Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland can find a full account of those, and of the basic law behind this case there.
In a sense I cannot add to, or improve upon, William Wall’s elegant reflection on the case in which a young migrant to Ireland was wrongfully refused an abortion. But I can underline and re-iterate what it may mean for Irish abortion law. As things stand, we do not know when we will discover how the state’s organs and agents reasoned to brutalising this young woman. Doctors for Choice have asked for an independent inquiry, headed by the man who chaired the inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar. But we are unlikely to get one. The HSE will conduct an inquiry into this case. But it will not consider the reasons why a C-section, rather than an abortion was performed in this instance, at likely great cost to the health of this woman and the baby. Somewhere in the High Court digital recordings archive is the evidence of the legal arguments made by lawyers for the HSE, the woman and the then unborn baby at a time when it was sought to compel this woman to accept medical treatment including, apparently, Caesarean section to facilitate a birth she plainly did not want. In particular we do not know whether the arguments accepted by the High Court when it made its hydration order were based on the woman’s own best interests, on on the the basis of some previously undisclosed right of the ‘unborn’ to be born alive. Precisely what law shadowed this woman’s experience? What were its terms? The not knowing is a form of regulation. Any worthwhile inquiry must answer these questions. We keep being told we are not ‘in full possession of the facts’ about this case - a subtle undermining of protest by those who like to frame themselves as ‘in the know’. We are not in full possession of the law. We are not in full possession of ourselves.
But even against this backdrop of grave uncertainty, we can make three key claims, which must become the subjects of government and public debate.
For those who are interested in interrogating and reforming the law in Ireland, there are several options:
GuestPost - Tue Aug 19, 2014 08:15
We are pleased to welcome this guest post from Dr. Ruth Fletcher of Queen Mary University of London. I want to respond to Máiréad Enright?s thoughtful call to discuss what happened in this recent case of abortion refusal and cruel treatment. How have certain forms of legal thinking got us to this place? How might this(...)
We are pleased to welcome this guest post from Dr. Ruth Fletcher of Queen Mary University of London.
I want to respond to Máiréad Enright?s thoughtful call to discuss what happened in this recent case of abortion refusal and cruel treatment. How have certain forms of legal thinking got us to this place? How might this case have gone differently? Does this woman have any remedies? And if not, why not? These are my initial thoughts. They focus on the legal significance of the abortion refusal decision. I hope to address the hydration order and the performance of the Caesarean section at a later date. Comments are welcome.
The basic facts that gave rise to this legal decision appear to be these: A pregnant woman presents to the health service for abortion care. She is distressed and says that she wants to die. She is pregnant as a result of rape. She is a foreign national with limited English language skills. She is young and vulnerable. Her ability to leave the country to avail of abortion care elsewhere is legally curtailed, it now appears because she is an asylum seeker. A panel is convened under section 9 of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 (PDLPA), around 12 weeks after she first presented, and finds that her life is at risk. But the panel of two psychiatrists and one obstetrician refuses to authorize the abortion. Instead it puts in motion a process, which would culminate in the delivery of a live child by Caesarean section at about 25 weeks gestation and includes a High Court order to hydrate the woman who went on hunger strike.
To justify the original care decision of denying an abortion under section 9, the HSE appointed panel must have decided that a termination was not the only reasonable way of averting the risk to the woman?s life, given the need to preserve unborn human life as far as practicable. Her constitutional right to a life-sustaining abortion was engaged, but outweighed by the possibility of delivering a live child, as regulated by the PDLPA and the (as yet unpublished) Guidelines. Their grounds for refusing this life-saving abortion seem to have been that they thought it was reasonable to perform serious abdominal surgery on a woman against her wishes in order to preserve the life of the foetus.
Although the woman is reported as having ultimately consented to the C section, it is also reported that she did not consent initially and that the HSE were preparing to ask for a High Court order authorizing the C section. In other words, the performance of a C section against her wishes was clearly anticipated as the reasonable and practicable alternative to a termination, an alternative which justified refusal of that termination. As Maeve Taylor of the Irish Family Planning Association pointed out to me recently, this HSE interpretation appears to have narrowed the scope of a woman?s constitutional right to abortion under the X case, through the means of a problematic implementation by the PLDPA test under section 9 and the Guidelines.
This is the first troubling aspect of this case from a legal perspective. There weren?t many optimistic moments during the recent passing of the PDLPA (on the discussion of suicidal women see Murray?s presentation, and forthcoming article). But occasionally some of us clung on to the hope that at minimum the Act would enhance women?s procedural rights to have their abortion requests heard in a life-saving context (on the importance of procedural rights, see further Erdman?s chapter in Cook, Erdman and Dickens, 2014). This case however seems to have delivered on our more pessimistic interpretations of those procedural rights. The abortion approval/refusal process may in itself harm women by subjecting them to the kind of judgmental scrutiny which produces mental anguish.
Irish civil society voiced this concern to the Oireachtas (or Irish Parliament, for non-Irish speakers) before the Act was adopted, to the UNHRC in July 2014 a year after the Act was passed, and to the media all the time. Indeed, the national statutory body responsible for human rights promotion and protection, the Irish Human Rights Commission, noted that the Bill could be in breach of human rights norms for failure to provide effective and accessible procedures for protecting the right to life of women and girls. The UNHRC found that the panels entail ?excessive scrutiny? in breach of civil and political rights. At minimum, the HSE needs to revisit interpretation of the test under section 9, as interpreted by the Guidelines, in order to comply with the ECtHR decision in ABC. They need to ensure that women?s procedural rights deliver on the purpose for which they were intended: the provision of life-saving abortion care to women at risk of suicide in a manner which respects their Convention rights to private life and freedom from discrimination.
The second troubling aspect of this abortion refusal is that it reiterates just how unethical the substance of Irish abortion law is. Irish abortion law imposes CIDT, violates integrity and autonomy, discriminates against women in general, and against women with mental health issues, women with few economic resources and women with limited mobility options, in particular. It does all this to conscious, sentient, thinking, feeling women in the name of protecting unconscious and non-sentient life forms in one of the more spectacular examples of upside-down thinking in human rights discourse (for an example see Binchy, for a critique of this kind of thinking see Rodley). I won?t say any more on this now, but see any one of the 6 pro-choice civil society submissions to the UNHRC for the July 2014 hearings for arguments and evidence in relation to the human rights violations performed by Irish abortion law. There is ample evidence of past and continued efforts to push the state further towards harm reduction and rights promotion in this context and many others. But right now, the state is not listening.
A third troubling aspect, and the main point I want to focus on here is the panel?s apparent views of what counts as reasonable and practicable treatment of women who are pregnant, at risk of suicide, survivors of rape, young, possibly incapacitated and of precarious migration status. Section 9 requires that ?in their reasonable opinion (being an opinion formed in good faith which has regard to the need to preserve unborn human life as far as practicable) that risk can only be averted by carrying out the medical procedure.? Footnote 22 of the Guidelines provides: ?If the unborn has reached viability, and the best course of action is deemed to be an early induction or caesarean section, this medical procedure would not fall under the Act as it is not a medical procedure during which or as a result of which an unborn human life is ended. Once delivered, the medical staff should ensure the necessary care for the neonate in accordance with clinical guidelines and best practice? (emphasis added). I want to suggest that the HSE panel may well have been legally wrong in its assumptions about what counts as reasonable and practicable treatment, and the best course of action (hereinafter referred to as ?reasonable?) for the following four reasons:
1. The abortion refusal may not have been reasonable because it was not likely to avert the risk of suicide and in fact did not avert that risk. As Doctors for Choice have consistently argued, the evidence of an obstetrician is not relevant to the assessment of suicide risk, and operates as a barrier to access on this ground. In the context of suicide risk, where the woman is severely distressed by her unwanted pregnancy and the possibility of being denied an abortion, treatment options such as C section and early delivery, are not likely to address her distress and reduce risk. A C section may be a reasonable treatment option in cases of physical threat, if the woman wants, and is not threatened by, a live delivery. But it is unlikely to be a reasonable option in cases of mental anguish and suicide risk.
If the offer of a Caesarean was unlikely to avert the risk of suicide and the threat to the woman?s life, it was not a reasonable or practicable way of vindicating her right to life with due regard to the unborn?s right to life. And indeed this seems to have been borne out by the consequences of the refusal. Rather than experience some relief from her distress, her distress seems to have been exacerbated as she turned to hunger strike as a means of making herself heard. In going on hunger strike, she was acting on her threat of suicide. The risk to her life, which the HSE had an obligation to reduce, eventuated in the form of acts of self-harm through the refusal of food and water.
Given this key legal and clinical distinction between kinds of life-risk, which require different kinds of clinical expertise in their assessment, the best way to interpret footnote 24 of the guidelines is to read it narrowly as applying only to those rare cases where a suicidal woman?s distress is likely to be alleviated by C section and early delivery, because they accord with her wishes. Otherwise the Guidelines have introduced a foetal viability criterion as a way of limiting the scope of a woman?s right to abortion due to suicide risk, in a manner which is not authorized by the legislation or the X case precedent (thanks to Maeve Taylor and Mairead Enright for discussion of this point).
In X, the Supreme Court decided that when there is a direct conflict between a woman?s right to biological life and a foetal right to biological life, the woman?s has to take precedence. The court was silent on the issue of whether this was limited by gestation. I would argue that it is unreasonable to think of it as limited by gestation because a woman?s life should always trump a foetus?s life in situations of conflict (see here, here and here). Of course, it is possible that a court might decide differently on the length of gestation issue, as de Londras and Graham have argued. But I think there are strong legal and ethical arguments for avoiding such an interpretation since it would still require sustenance until viability and performance of serious surgery, against the woman?s will.
2. The abortion refusal on grounds of the C section alternative may not have been reasonable, because the C section was not a real, voluntary alternative for the woman in this case. The apparent consent to the C section may not have been ?real? in the legal sense, potentially rendering the C section a trespass on the person for which the state could be liable in civil law. In Fitzpatrick and another v K and another IEHC 104, Laffoy J cites Walsh J in G v An Bord Uchtala  IR 32 (SC) in emphasizing ?that to be valid the consent must be ?free and willing?, in other words it must be voluntary?. K turned on issues of capacity in the context of treatment refusal, so these comments are obiter dicta. But they are an articulation of the generally accepted legal rule that consent needs to be voluntary, as well as informed and capacitated, in order to be valid.
On the assumed facts, there seem to be 2 reasons why this woman?s apparent consent may not meet the legal test of voluntariness. First, the HSE had already got an order for forcible hydration, to which she had been subjected. Second, the HSE was planning on seeking an order for a C section, if she did not consent. Asking someone to consent to a C section in these circumstances seems like an invocation of a superficial ?tick box? exercise, rather than the execution of legally meaningful consent. Could her consent have been free and willing if it was obtained through the implicit threat of force, and with no other realistic options available to her? If consent was not real, then the C section was a non-criminal battery (assuming the absence of bad faith) and she may have a civil case against the Health Service for trespass against the person.
3. Offering a C section to a woman who is at risk of suicide may not be a reasonable action because it falls below standards of good medical practice. The woman in this case had a legal right to abortion on grounds of suicide risk. The norms of good medical practice, which include minimizing harms to her, as well as listening to her and taking her views seriously, should have applied in this case. And if doctors acted below the norms of good medical practice in treating her, they may be liable in negligence if any harm resulting from the abortion refusal was caused by that breach in standards.
Such negligence would probably be difficult to prove in this instance since negligence law continues to adopt a more professional oriented, rather than a patient oriented, standard of care (usually known as the Bolam standard, see Dunne v National Maternity Hospital  IR 91 (SC)). This means that if some body of healthcare professionals thinks it is reasonable to treat women in this way, then it is difficult to prove a breach of the standard, even if goes against the mainstream views of the profession. As there are a significant number of doctors who believe that abortion is not an appropriate treatment for women at risk of suicide, it is possible that an abortion refusal may not fall below the standard as set by ?a body of professional opinion?.
But we should always be arguing for a more patient-centred standard in medical negligence law?s response to maltreatment. And indeed Irish law together with most other common law jurisdictions (except the UK) does adopt a reasonable patient standard in the context of medical negligence?s response to the issue of information (see Fitzpatrick v White  IESC 51). If the courts do move more towards a patient-centred perspective in all aspects of medical negligence law, then care which fails to take patient?s reasonable views of harm seriously will not be satisfactory. As Mark Murphy discussed recently, ?doctors of pro-choice conscience? have consistently pushed clinical standards more towards a patient-centred, human rights norm as they argue for those standards in their clinical practice.
[There may be other aspects of this woman?s treatment which could give rise to a negligence claim. First, the reported delay between her reported presentation at 8 weeks and the eventual triggering of a s 9 process at around 20 weeks gestation could be a failure to observe good medical practice which resulted in harm. Second, the forcible administration of fluids would also seem to many people to be a harmful breach of the norms of good medical practice, particularly in these factual circumstances. This is why we need to know more about the High Court?s reasons for ordering forced hydration, as Enright says. Why did the Court think this was legally justifiable? Were there grounds for appeal? Third, it seems possible that the usual process of informed consent, which does adopt a more patient-centred standard, see Fitzpatrick v White  IESC 51, was not properly observed in the context of her apparent consent to the C section, which could also ground a negligence claim. But I will have to leave further analysis of these issues aside for now. Thanks to Mary Donnelly, Claire Murray and Peadar O?Grady for discussion of these points.]
4. Refusing an abortion on grounds that a C section is an alternative treatment is not likely to be reasonable when a) performing that C section and 2) delaying treatment until foetal viability are forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
If women?s constitutional and international human rights are legally significant, then the standards by which health care decisions are made have to be interpreted in light of those rights. Ending a pregnancy by C section and delivery of a live child against that woman?s wishes violates her bodily integrity and autonomy and subjects her to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CIDT). ICCPR and ECHR rights norms clearly recognize that denying abortion to a rape victim is a form of CIDT. Irish law has not yet taken this formal step, but clearly it should if it wants to ring true in its commitment to human rights and ethical principles. The Health Service could have chosen to interpret practicality and reasonableness as excluding the imposition of CIDT. But it didn?t. Instead it appears to have interpreted reasonableness and practicality as ensuring the delivery of a viable foetus against a woman?s will and as forcibly hydrating a woman who has already been violated through rape.
The case has been reported in the Irish media, who have commented that the baby is doing well. This seems unlikely given birth at 25 weeks gestation approx. It provides another problematic example of ?bare life? being represented as wellness. They have said little or nothing about how the woman is doing. Is it too cynical to suggest that the mainstream media is a little too accepting of a HSE version of events? In whose name does the Irish state subject pregnant women, women who are vulnerable and distressed, victims of crime, and precarious migrants, to such cruel treatment? Not mine.
admin - Mon Aug 18, 2014 16:21
As coverage of the case of a young woman who was refused an abortion under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 continues in Irish newspapers and on radio and television, we thought it might be useful to journalists and producers to outline some of the expertise available from the HRinI contributors. The full(...)
As coverage of the case of a young woman who was refused an abortion under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 continues in Irish newspapers and on radio and television, we thought it might be useful to journalists and producers to outline some of the expertise available from the HRinI contributors. The full list of contributors is here, and people whose research engages directly with the relevant legal issues are listed below.
Claire Murray: consent to medical treatment, medical law, the Act
Fiona de Londras: the constitutional position, the Act, abortion, international human rights law
Liam Thornton: asylum & immigration, travel restrictions, international human rights law
Máiréad Enright: the constitution position, the Act, abortion, international human rights law
Sinéad Ring: trauma, rape
Máiréad Enright - Sat Aug 16, 2014 15:13
Update: I have added notes to this post to take account of what has been published elsewhere since the Independent report quoted below. Reporting of the case has been patchy, and sometimes confused. See RTE.ie, the Sunday Independent (quoting this piece), the Sunday Times and the Examiner. Dearbhail McDonald of the Irish Independent reported on Saturday on what she(...)
Update: I have added notes to this post to take account of what has been published elsewhere since the Independent report quoted below. Reporting of the case has been patchy, and sometimes confused. See RTE.ie, the Sunday Independent (quoting this piece), the Sunday Times and the Examiner.
Dearbhail McDonald of the Irish Independent reported on Saturday on what she believes was the first application made under the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act. The article summarises the facts as follows:
This article provides scant detail on the facts. [It is not clear how this story came into the public domain. Last year, some details of a termination carried out at the National Maternity Hospital similarly emerged into the media. The Irish Human Rights Commission in its comments on the Bill, warned of the need to take measures to protect women's privacy. These measures are relevant where termination is refused as well as where it is granted. We can only hope, as @OireachtasRetort observed on twitter last night, that one day women's reproductive choices will no longer make the national headlines in Ireland.] [It is now clear from the Sunday Times that the story has emerged into the public domain through restricted reporting of two court hearings in respect of this woman - an application for permission to administer certain medical treatment which led to granting of a hydration order, and an application for permission to perform a C-section, which became unnecessary, as the woman consented to it.]
I will confine my (very tentative) remarks to exploring, insofar as the reported facts allow, how this case connects to the existing law. Comments are very welcome.
This woman applied for a termination under s.9 of the Act. Guidelines for doctors have been drafted, but not yet officially published. S.9 requires that ‘three medical practitioners, having examined the pregnant woman, have jointly certified in good faith that
This is a two stage test. It is not only a matter of determining that the woman’s life is at risk, but that an abortion is the only reasonable means of eliminating that risk. The Guidelines contemplate that a woman in this position would be referred to her GP, who would refer her to the local consultant psychiatrist. That psychiatrist, having agreed to certify, would have referred her to a second psychiatrist, who in turn, having agreed to certify, would have referred her to a obstetrician, who then refused to certify. We do not know from the article whether the obstetrician refused termination on one ground or the other. (Doctors for Choice have consistently raised the prospect of an obstetrician vetoing two psychiatrists’ findings on risk to life from suicide.) But the panel’s decision must be unanimous, or a termination under the Act cannot go ahead.
How then, to explain the Caesarean? The Act clearly directs the panel of three to consider other measures which would preserve the life of the foetus, and to take them, where possible. Premature Caesarean delivery would appear to fall within the scope of ‘reasonable’ options under the Act. Fiona de Londras has argued that the X case provides, in circumstances where the foetus is viable but a woman’s life is at risk, as here, that the woman may have a constitutional right to have the pregnancy ended in Ireland, but no right to end the life of the foetus. (See Gerry Whyte, quoted here, disagreeing, and arguing that in X the girl’s pregnancy was still in its early stages, and so the X ruling simply does not give any guidance on what should be done where live birth is possible). The constitution may require that other measures are taken to allow live birth. During the Oireachtas debates on the Bill, in which deputies raised the issue of ‘term limits’ or ‘late term abortion’, the Minister for Justice acknowledged the possibility of early delivery. It is important to note that the Draft Guidelines , in a footnote at page 29, contemplate that this ‘early delivery’ falls entirely outside the scope of the Act. It says that:
The footnote captures the legal divide on which this case turns. Abortion is an exceptional procedure and requires intensive regulation. Premature Caesarean is simply medical treatment, even if it has its origins in a request for an abortion. None of the things that happened to this woman after she was refused a termination are governed by the legislation. They are in a separate ‘fallout’ space, regulated by ‘best practice’, which may be creative and sustained by human rights, or not. [The government should be asked whether a 'viability' threshold is introduced into the Act by the 'back door'. Is it the case now that a woman who is suicidal, but whose pregnancy is in the late second trimester, cannot obtain a termination in practice, but will always be offered an alternative treatment designed to secure live delivery of the foetus? Can women on the cusp of viability be managed into this zone?]
This case raises a series of difficult questions, and the reported facts are too scant to provide deep analysis. In particular, it is difficult to tell how much time elapsed between the woman’s seeking medical treatment, the s. 9 application and the final Caesarean. However, these facts certainly raise the issue of what should happen where a woman – as initially happened here – refuses the medical procedure presented to her as an alternative to a requested abortion. The Draft Guidelines, as published on the Guardian website, do not provide transparency about this sort of situation, and that is a problem – for doctors, for women, and for the wider public who authorise this law.
The State’s obligation under the Constitution is ‘as far as practicable’ to defend and vindicate the right to life of the unborn. Scenarios like the one reported in the Independent raise the question of what ‘practicability’ has come to mean. Several commentators have been recalling Sir Nigel Rodley’s ‘vessel’ comments at the UNHRC in July. [If the reports that this woman was raped are accurate, then we are squarely within the territory of these criticisms - the UNHRC expressly noted Ireland's failure to provide for victims of rape under its abortion law. This litigation would suggest that the public discussion of the UNHRC's comments has had precious little effect on those charged with enforcing the 2013 Act] It is quite clear that we do not know enough about the possible chains of events to which a vulnerable woman exposes herself if she makes an application under s.9 of the Act. The image of a competent, very distressed woman resorting to the threat of hunger strike – the classic last ditch protest action of those interned, or denied civic voice – in an effort to assert her autonomy should give serious pause for thought. The Irish Independent calls it ‘tragic’. ‘Tragedy’ is often a word we use to signal detachment, from exceptional and rare suffering brought about by fate – events that we can only gawp at from a distance. But this particular set of circumstances is, in an important sense, the product of a constitutional amendment which was never fit even for its proponents’ purpose, and which has been punishing women for far too long. [It is to be hoped that, as a first step, TDs will seek clarity in the Oireachtas on the Attorney General's involvement in the case, and the government's position on the orders sought and made in this litigation. The Sunday Times reports that the Ministers for Health and Justice were briefed on the case.]
GuestPost - Fri Aug 15, 2014 09:46
Kristian Lanslett is a lecturer in criminology in University of Ulster. The Transitional Justice Institute (University of Ulster), the Centre for Post-Conflict Justice (Trinity College Dublin), and the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (University of Ulster) invite proposals for a one- day postgraduate student research seminar to be held on Friday 7 November(...)
The Transitional Justice Institute (University of Ulster), the Centre for Post-Conflict Justice (Trinity College Dublin), and the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (University of Ulster) invite proposals for a one- day postgraduate student research seminar to be held on Friday 7 November 2014.
This year?s event, on human rights, transitional justice and peace building, will encourage interdisciplinary exchange and networking around challenging questions which arise for societies emerging from conflict or dealing with the legacy of human rights abuses. Papers are invited from current PhD students, from any discipline, whose work relates strongly to the theme.
Researchers wishing to be considered should submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, with their name, institution, discipline, year of study, and a 200 word biography by 31 August 2014, to Gwawr McGirr, email firstname.lastname@example.org . Places are necessarily limited, so unfortunately not every paper may be able to be accepted. We anticipate that final acceptances will be notified by the end of September. Non- presenting participants will then be welcome to register to attend, subject only to limitations of space.
About the research day: This conference is being run by and for postgraduate students from universities across Ireland, in conjunction with the Transitional Justice Institute (University of Ulster), the Centre for Post-Conflict Justice (Trinity College Dublin), and the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (University of Ulster).
Accepted papers will be organised into thematic panels, with short (max. 12 minute) summary paper presentations followed by expert feedback from an established academic in the field, then general Q&A. While there is no registration fee, and lunch will be provided on the day, we regret that we are unable to cover travel and accommodation costs.
This event takes place during the Belfast version of the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences, 1-8 November, and so there will also be other events of interest happening across the city
About TJI: The Transitional Justice Institute, attached to the University of Ulster School of Law, studies the role of law and legal institutions in moves from conflict to peace. See www.transitionaljustice.ulster.ac.uk.
About CPCJ: The Centre for Post-Conflict Justice at Trinity College Dublin explores how societies come to terms with episodes of extreme violence in war, civil war and prolonged civil and political unrest. See www.tcd.ie/cpcj.
About IRiSS: The Institute for Research in Social Sciences at the University of Ulster works on a broad range of social and public policy matters. See http://www.socsci.ulster.ac.uk/irss/index.html.
Participation Call: Challenging Injustice in Ireland: Learning from the Past, Lessons for the Future
GuestPost - Tue Aug 12, 2014 13:36
2015 marks the 25th anniversary of Equality Studies and Women?s Studies in UCD and the 10th anniversary of the UCD School of Social Justice. Leading up to the celebration of these milestones, graduate students of the School invite you to a conference to highlight social justice, equality studies and women?s studies as fields of scholarship and to(...)
2015 marks the 25th anniversary of Equality Studies and Women?s Studies in UCD and the 10th anniversary of the UCD School of Social Justice. Leading up to the celebration of these milestones, graduate students of the School invite you to a conference to highlight social justice, equality studies and women?s studies as fields of scholarship and to identify from current research how we can address injustices in everyday life in Ireland.
The School of Social Justice was formed in 2005 bringing together the Equality Studies Centre and the Women?s Studies Centre to promote social justice both locally and globally, using interdisciplinary, feminist and egalitarian approaches to teaching, learning and research.
Details and Call for Abstracts
When: 4th October 2014
The theme of this conference is Challenging Injustice in Ireland: Learning from the Past, Lessons for the Future
We welcome contributions from students and graduates from third-level institutions across Ireland, activists and practitioners in NGOs, Community Groups, and Partner Organisations working for equality and social justice. There will be an opportunity to present your research, participate in workshops, and attend an exhibition showcasing the work of of the school. Opening and closing lectures will be delivered by academics and activists.
There are four options for participation:
Abstracts should include:
Our objective is to collate as many papers as possible for publication after the conference.
GuestPost - Thu Aug 07, 2014 18:01
King’s Inns will be offering an Advanced Diploma in Immigration and Asylum Law from October 2014 for a period of 18 weeks. The course is open to both lawyers and non-lawyers, and may be of particular interest to those in the public sector and NGO employees, academic and government researchers, industry, policy-makers, lawyers and regulators. The course will(...)
King’s Inns will be offering an Advanced Diploma in Immigration and Asylum Law from October 2014 for a period of 18 weeks. The course is open to both lawyers and non-lawyers, and may be of particular interest to those in the public sector and NGO employees, academic and government researchers, industry, policy-makers, lawyers and regulators.
The course will cover some of the following topics:
GuestPost - Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:30
Human Rights in Ireland welcomes this guest post from Mairead Healy, Dean Brennan Perth and Alina Balc. Mairead is the Executive Director of Future Voices Ireland and an Ashoka Global Fellow; Dean and Alina are secondary school students and have undertaken the Future Voices Ireland Flagship programme. Future Voices Ireland is an innovative youth empowerment NGO(...)
Human Rights in Ireland welcomes this guest post from Mairead Healy, Dean Brennan Perth and Alina Balc. Mairead is the Executive Director of Future Voices Ireland and an Ashoka Global Fellow; Dean and Alina are secondary school students and have undertaken the Future Voices Ireland Flagship programme.
Future Voices Ireland is an innovative youth empowerment NGO which works directly with disenfranchised young people in Ireland to help them find their voices. We do this through the medium of human rights, in exploring what human rights means to the young people in their daily lives, communities and in relation to the wider policy context. It is our hope that the young people we work with, will go on to be the future voices in Ireland, and in doing so, ensure more representative and diverse decision making in our legal, political and civil service spheres, which better reflects all communities including their own.
Over the course of our programme this year, we have been amazed and astounded by the insights that the young people have given us as program leaders, on their views of the world and in understanding how the young people often do not feel listened to by society at present.
At our recent end of year presentations chaired by Dr Liam Thornton at UCD Sutherland School of Law, we were delighted to be joined by an esteemed judging panel including Mr Justice Frank Clarke (Irish Supreme Court), Children?s Ombudsman Emily Logan, Professor Donncha O?Connell (NUI Galway) and human rights lawyer Gareth Noble from KOD Lyons Solicitors. As organisers working with the young people for the past 2 years, even we were completely blown away by how articulate, empathetic and confidently the teens presented difficult human rights issues with their own solutions, in front of their peers and the judging panel. The task was incredibly difficult for the judges and whilst the two poems below did not win, we wanted to share them widely, as we believe they are incredibly moving and poignant, in confronting difficult issues as seen through the eyes of teenagers in Ireland.
The first poem below was written by Dean Brennan Perth on the issue of homelessness. Dean was motivated to write this poem by seeing homeless people around the streets in Dublin, which he believes is a continuing problem which needs to be solved. Dean is 15, and from Ballyfermot. He loves music, drama, acting and writing stories in his spare time- when he is not out with his friends. In the future, Dean hopes to become a youth worker or a barrister in the juvenile courts.
Why is everyone so blind to see
The person hurt is him not me,
You see no home, no food, no money, or no voice
This man is affected by coldness and ice,
He has what he wears and lives in places he fears,
Because with no vote or voice, there are no listening ears to hear what he needs,
What he begs and what he pleads,
This man spends his day praying with his holy beads.
The second poem was written by Alina Balc, a Transition Year student at St Joseph’s, Stanhope Street on the issue of LGBT rights. Ali?s motivation to write this poem was that for her, it’s easier to express her views and feelings through poetry because she feels she is not good at talking about them. She felt that the issue of LGBT rights was an important topic to talk about and to get the message out there to people. Hopefully in the future, Ali believes she can be a part of the many changes that will come along.
Liam Thornton - Wed Aug 06, 2014 15:57
Over the last number of weeks, there have been potentially significant developments in relation to the system of direct provision for asylum seekers in Ireland. Last week, the High Court case challenging the system of direct provision concluded. A decision is expected over the next number of weeks (see here for background). Speaking on 24(...)
Over the last number of weeks, there have been potentially significant developments in relation to the system of direct provision for asylum seekers in Ireland. Last week, the High Court case challenging the system of direct provision concluded. A decision is expected over the next number of weeks (see here for background). Speaking on 24 June 2014, the Government indicated the continuance of the system of direct provision in its current form. The Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald noted:
Changes to the system of direct provision were indicated in mid July in the Statement of Government Priorities 2014-2016, where the following commitment was provided:
In late July, the new Junior Minister for Justice, Aodhán O? Ríordáin stated:
Within the space of one month, the system of direct provision, continuously defended by the current government heretofore (see, for example, here) is now in need of serious reform. The UN Human Rights Committee of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, expressed ?concerns? with the system of direct provision, in particular recommending that an independent complaints mechanism needs to be established for those currently in direct provision centres and stated that stays in direct provision accommodation centres need to be for the shortest duration possible.
So what next?
An important stage has now commenced as regards discussions on what may replace direct provision. Any such discussions must include consultation with asylum seekers currently in direct provision, former asylum seekers who spent a period of time in direct provision and civil society organisations representing those in the protection status determination process. Away from the important questions on eliciting views of those most affected by direct provision, there are several other issues that I believe are important for the government to keep in mind:
For the first time in over 14 years, there seems to be serious momentum as regards the need to bring some closure to the whole issue of direct provision. It remains to be seen what precise reforms will be proposed, but (finally!) having this discussion is in itself a victory for the many asylum seekers campaigning on this issue, and for groups who have for many years challenged the system of direct provision (even when it was not popular to do so).