Human Rights and Equality Update - Issue 6 2019
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Issue 6 2019
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In this issue of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission newsletter, we bring you the latest news from the Commission, together with useful resources and information on significant human rights and equality issues in Ireland.

In this issue:


Commission launches national review into council Traveller accommodation provision


The Commission has legally requested every local authority in the State to undertake an equality review on their provision of Traveller accommodation.

The statutory equality reviews, requested of each of the thirty-one county and city councils, focuses on failures nationally to draw down ring-fenced capital budget to meet obligations on Traveller specific accommodation. The national equality review will also oblige councils to examine specifically whether any such failings may be due to discriminatory practices or policies under the Housing Act and the Equal Status Acts.

The legal cases the Commission holds continue to paint a bleak picture of persistent discrimination and inertia towards the provision of services for the Traveller community, most commonly in the area of Traveller accommodation.

Related media
RTÉ Morning Ireland - interview Chief Commissioner
Irish Times article
Commission media release

Annual Report 2018 published

The Commission launched its Annual Report 2018 to the Houses of the Oireachtas. The report marks significantly increased activity for the Commission during its fourth full year of work as Ireland’s national human rights and equality body.

The Annual Report highlights include:
• Significant legal interventions across direct provision, disability rights and housing.
• 1,711 concerns raised by public to the Commission - disability discrimination remains the highest area of contact, seeing almost a third of all equality related concerns.
• Housing set as a key focus over the next three years in line with new strategy 2019-2021 and key legal cases taken. 
• Disability Advisory Committee work underway supporting the Commission's monitoring of Ireland’s obligations under UN Treaty.

Annual Report 2018
Tuarascáil Bhliantúil 2018

Related media
Irish Times editorial
Irish Times article
Irish Independent article
RTÉ Sean O'Rourke - Interview with Chief Commissioner
Commission media release


"All human, all equal" campaign on disability rights


The Commission's national awareness campaign “Because we’re all human. Means we’re all equal.” challenges societal and individual attitudes that limit people with disabilities’ participation in everyday life.

The national campaign is running over the summer across cinema, radio, social media and online. The campaign features thirteen interviews with people from across Irish society, sharing personal perspectives on everyday life and some of the barriers encountered when living with autism, an intellectual disability, complex needs, being blind, visually impaired, hard of hearing or Deaf, having a physical disability or being affected by mental ill-health

Campaign website

Commission report to Council of Europe focused on children, families and migrants


The Commission has reported to the Council of Europe that it considers the rise in child and family homelessness has been significantly exacerbated by Government policy choices, in particular around building social housing. The Commission reiterates in its submission on the European Social Charter its concerns that emergency accommodation and family hubs are normalising homelessness and institutionalising families. 

Comments on Ireland's 16th National Report on the implementation of the European Social Charter.

Related media
Irish Independent article


Providing legal assistance in challenging discrimination– Woman refused dental service upon disclosing HIV status 


The Commission has welcomed the settlement in the case of a woman who was refused a dental service on disclosing her HIV status. The Commission provided legal advice and representation to the woman in bringing her case to the Workplace Relations Commission.

The case, which was brought under the Equal Status Acts, was withdrawn when the woman secured an agreement that the dentist agreed to provide a written apology. The clinic and dentist also agreed to pay her €10,000 and the dental clinic committed to finalising and implementing an appropriate company policy that reflects their commitment to equality and will ensure that similar incidents do not arise in the future. The dental clinic will also provide equality and diversity, including HIV, training to its employees.

Related Media

Irish Examiner article
Irish Times article
The Journal article
Irish Legal News article
Commission media release

Commission seeks change on family reunification 


On World Refugee Day the Commission restated the need for changes to Ireland’s International Protection Act 2015 to support the reunification of families of refugees in Ireland. The Commission has recommended that family reunification law and policy be strengthened and expanded, to facilitate safe and legal pathways for family members of refugee communities here in Ireland.

Related media
Irish Times article
Commission media release


Information session on implementing the Public Sector Duty


The Commission has developed its guidance for public bodies on Implementing the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty. 

The guidance provides an overview of the Duty, its context and the three steps that a public body must take to implement the Duty in line with its statutory obligation.

We are running the next session on Implementing the Duty on the 19th September 2019. Event details are available on the Public Sector Duty website. Availability is limited.

Dedicated Public Sector Duty website - guidance, information sessions, FAQ & case studies
Implementing the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty [English]
Dualgas na hEarnála Poiblí um Chomhionannas agus Cearta an Duine a chur i bhfeidhm [Gaeilge]


CERD youth consultation: video highlights


In March, the Commission, in its role as Ireland’s national human rights and equality institution, together with the National Youth Council of Ireland, hosted an event bringing together more than 120 young people from across Ireland to collect their experiences and ideas towards eliminating all forms of racial discrimination.

Views collected on the day will contribute to the Commission’s independent reporting to the UN in November on Ireland’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). A highlights video capturing the issues discussed on the day is now available. 

CERD youth consultation: video highlights


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