Child’s Citizenship at Stake in Supreme Court Case

Commission to Appear as Amicus Curiae in Child Citizenship Case

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (the ‘Commission’) has today been permitted to bring its expertise to the Supreme Court by being granted an amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) role in an important citizenship and children’s rights case.

UM was born in Ireland and asserted Irish citizenship on the basis of his Afghan father’s residency in the country, as a refugee, prior to his birth.

His father was granted refugee status in 2006. However the Department of Justice informed the father in August 2013 that the Minister was revoking his refugee status due to fraud.

UM, who was born before the revocation of his father’s refugee status, had his Irish passport application refused two years later on the basis that any residence derived from his father’s refugee grant could not be relied on for the purposes of UM’s assertion of citizenship.

The Supreme Court is hearing the case as it raises significant questions of the impact of retrospective application of a decision to revoke refugee status, and the impact of that decision on a child who is a citizen by birth, not having an Irish parent.

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“This case examines the powers of the State to refuse recognition of a person’s Irish citizenship many years after that individual asserted such citizenship by birth, and assesses if that power must be used in a proportionate manner.

 “This is a complex issue, but one that needs to be clarified. The case will consider the current legal position which leaves certain people – in this case a child – in a highly precarious position with respect of their Irish citizenship such that they may be automatically deprived of that citizenship because of fraud of another person on whose residence they relied. 

“The Commission expects to be able to bring significant human rights law input to this case, and to assist in clarifying the law on this important issue.”

ENDS/

For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

bdawson@ihrec.ie

Follow us on twitter @_IHREC

Editor’s Note

As the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is now formally involved in the proceedings, we are precluded from making any further comment as the matter is before the Supreme Court.

Where written submissions are made by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to the superior Courts in amicus curiae cases they will be made available on www.ihrec.ie after the case has been heard.

The amicus curiae function of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

The Commission’s functions under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 include that of applying for liberty to appear as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) before the superior courts in proceedings that involve, or are concerned with, the human rights or equality rights of any person.

Section 10 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act sets out the functions of the Commission and Section 10(2)(e) provides that the IHREC shall have a function:

“to apply to the High Court or the Supreme Court for liberty to appear before the High Court or the Supreme Court, as the case may be, as amicus curiae in proceedings before that Court that involve or are concerned with the human rights or equality rights of any person and to appear as such an amicus curiae on foot of such liberty being granted (which liberty each of the said courts is hereby empowered to grant in its absolute discretion).”

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

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