Human Rights and Equality Commission Granted Liberty to Appear Before High Court in Case Focused on Human Trafficking

Commission to Appear as Amicus Curiae in Case

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has today been granted leave from the High Court to exercise its amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) function in a case centred on human trafficking and other severe forms of labour exploitation on the Irish fishing fleet.

The case centres on the request from the International Transport Worker’s Federation (ITF) for an immediate moratorium on the grant or renewal of work permits under the atypical work permit scheme for non-EU fishermen, pending a review of conditions attaching to the scheme. The ITF seeks the moratorium after it identified a number of individuals who arrived in Ireland on foot of permits granted under the scheme, and who it says were subsequently subjected to human trafficking and other severe forms of labour exploitation on Irish fishing vessels.

The Commission’s involvement in this High Court case continues its anti-human trafficking work. The Commission previously appeared as amicus curiae in the “P” case, which concerned a Vietnamese woman the Gardaí discovered locked in a cannabis “grow house”. Having considered the Commission’s legal submissions, the High Court found that the State’s administrative scheme for the recognition and protection of victims of human trafficking was inadequate to meet its obligations under EU law aimed at combatting trafficking in human beings.

Following the ‘P’ case, in December 2016 the Commission met with the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking (GRETA) in Dublin to raise concerns about how victims of trafficking are identified, protected and supported.  The Commission’s input was reflected in the Council of Europe report dated October 2017, which highlighted crucial gaps in Ireland’s protections for victims of trafficking in human beings.

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 High 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.

The ‘P Case’

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission appeared before the High Court as amicus curiae (friend of the Court) in the judicial review proceedings entitled P. v. Chief Superintendent of the Garda National Immigration Bureau & Ors [2015] IEHC 222. The case concerned a Vietnamese woman who was discovered by the Gardaí locked in a cannabis “grow house” and who was charged with drugs offences. The woman claimed she was a victim of trafficking and that the failure of the Garda to recognise this deprived her of her right to avail of the protection regime for such victims.

The Commission’s legal submissions questioned the adequacy of the protection regime for persons who claim to be victims of human trafficking and, in particular, the administrative scheme for the identification of victims, and whether it met relevant human rights standards. The Court found that the State’s administrative scheme for the recognition and protection of victims of human trafficking was inadequate to meet its obligations under EU law aimed at combatting trafficking in human beings.

Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking (GRETA)

The full report of the October 2017 Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking (GRETA) on Ireland is available at the following link:

https://rm.coe.int/greta-2017-28-fgr-irl-en/168074b426

The full submission made by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to GRETA ahead of their December 2016 Country visit to Ireland is available at the following link:

 https://www.ihrec.ie/app/uploads/2016/12/IHREC-Submission-to-GRETA-2016.pdf

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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