This section contains blog pieces from invited guest writers presenting various civil society concerns around issues contained in the Covenant. To enquire about submitting a piece, please contact us. Any opinions expressed within the blog are those of the author and not necessarily held by FLAC.
Posted on June 02, 2015
The treatment of asylum seekers in Ireland has been the subject of considerable critique and controversy for over a decade. For asylum seekers in Ireland, the rights afforded under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, could rightly appear as utopian constructs. Rights such as the right to work and the right to an adequate standard of living are of particular concern when analysed through the lens of protection law and policy in Ireland. Delays in the protection system have resulted in asylum seekers residing in institutionalised facilities within the direct provision system which is administered by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), for an average of four years, some for considerably longer, surviving on a weekly allowance of €19.10. Despite vigorous campaigning by asylum seekers, NGOs and civil society organisations that have repeatedly highlighted the systemic failures within the protection system in Ireland, the State has yet to respond with meaningful reforms that show respect for the economic, social and cultural rights of asylum seekers.
The recent publication of the General Scheme of the International Protection Bill 2015 is silent on the right to work for asylum seekers nor does it make any reference to direct provision. Ireland is completely out of step with the majority of EU countries when it comes to having a single procedure for protection applications, harmonised reception conditions and the right to work for asylum seekers. Nasc has taken the view that one of primary and principle reasons for the systemic failure of our system is that we have not fully opted in to the Common European Asylum System. Opting into the Reception Conditions Directive, in particular, would go some way to ensuring that our reception system is fair, humane and transparent whilst also affording protection applicants the right to work and minimal degrees of respect for economic, social and cultural rights.
Posted on May 22, 2015
Kevin McCague is Legal and Social Welfare Intern with FLAC
Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights guarantees a right of everyone to education, emphasising that education should be made available and accessible, and that there should be a progressive introduction of free access to secondary and higher education.
However, in many ways Ireland has moved away from this commitment to cost free access over the last number of years. New costs and charges have been introduced at all stages of the education system; at the same time, supports for children and young adults from low income families have been cut.
Collective Complaint on housing conditions in Ireland speaks volumes about the State’s legal human rights obligations
Posted on April 16, 2015
A landmark collective complaint against Ireland, which outlines appalling and widespread sub-standard housing issues affecting thousands of people across 20 Local Authority housing estates, has been deemed admissible for further investigation by the European Committee of Social Rights.
The complaint goes to the heart of the housing crisis in Ireland and the State’s inaction and reluctance to fulfil its duty to provide adequate housing under European and International Law. Lodged in July 2014 by FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights, the complaint was a collaboration with its associate member in Ireland FLAC, and facilitated by PILA (Public Interest Law Alliance).
Posted on April 02, 2015
By Rachel Mullen is the Coordinator of the Equality and Rights Alliance www.eracampaign.org
Any discussion of the protection and fulfilment of economic, social and cultural rights must consider the backdrop of significant levels of discrimination, together with significant levels of under-reporting of discrimination in an Irish context.
Access to key public services and employment are central to the fulfilment of social and economic rights. Our equality legislation prohibits discrimination in access to employment, goods and services for those groups protected under equality law. There is, however, a significant gap between the lived experience of people who are regularly discriminated against in accessing services and employment, and the ability to vindicate their rights in this regard.
Posted on March 27, 2015
By Niall O Baoill, Blue Drum (A longer version of this blog piece is available from Blue Drum.)
What could be more fair and dynamic than to enable more open systems of community-based arts provision and dialogues? Processes that could, in turn, catalyse fresh sets of understandings around contemporary culture, the developmental role of the arts and the unique and needed contribution of artists. Powered together, these could help Ireland develop resilience in the face of unprecedented economic, social and cultural threats.
Community, no matter what your definition – geographic, identity or interest-based – can provide fertile ground in which such vital cultural discourses and experimentations might occur. I have knowledge of not dissimilar initiatives in many North American situations – ones with proven outcomes.
Posted on March 19, 2015
Achieving the ‘highest attainable standard’ of health, as laid down in article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, requires the Irish state to make political decisions and introduce health policies which provides the conditions for healthy lives.
The chronic diseases which kill most people in Ireland – cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory and diabetes – share four risk factors, tobacco, alcohol, poor diet and lack of physical activity. So the conditions for healthy lives require Government to tackle these risk factors head on.
Posted on March 13, 2015
The process of preparing the promised policy paper on local and community development has finally got underway with the publication of a draft paper, ‘Our Communities: A Framework Policy for Local and Community Development in Ireland’by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. Submissions are invited by 10 April 2015. There is no indication as yet that the department will engage in a more intensive consultation with either the local development sector or the community sector.
Posted on March 03, 2015
Articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognise the rights to an adequate standard of living and to health respectively. At Age Action, we hear on a daily basis that for many older people, austerity has meant these rights are moving further and further out of reach.
Posted on February 24, 2015
Article 12 of The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) recognises the human right to the ‘highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.’ As part of the full realisation of these rights, States Parties should create conditions ‘which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness’ (1).
Posted on February 12, 2015
Blag ar an easpa rochtain ar cheartas i gcomhair cainteoirí dúchais san chóras cúirte in Éireann
Is é an Cúnant Idirnáisiúnta ar Chearta Eacnamaíocha, Sóisialta agus Cultúrtha (CICESC) ná ionstraim cearta an duine idirnáisiúnta a dhéanann sainaithint ar chearta eacnamaíocha, sóisialta agus cultúrtha a bhfuil de dhualgas ar an Stát a chosaint. Shínigh agus dhaighnigh Éireann an Cúnant Idirnáisiúnta ar Chearta Eacnamaíocha, Sóisialta agus Cultúrtha (CICESC) i 1989.
Cearta Teangain sa Dlí
Tagann cearta teangain taobh istigh de théarmaí tagartha Airteagail 15 den Cúnant Idirnáisiúnta ar Chearta Eacnamaíocha, Sóisialta agus Cultúrtha. Clúdaíonn Airteagal 15 cearta cultúrtha, agus de bharr an Airteagal sin caithfidh an Stát gach bheart a chur i bfheidhim chun an chultúr sin a chaomhnú, a fhorbairt agus a scaipeadh.(*)