Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission launches 2016 Annual Report

On June 29th the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission launched its Annual Report to the Houses of the Oireachtas.

In launching the report at the Commission’s offices, Chief Commissioner Emily Logan will highlight “2016 as a year in which forms of hate and intolerance took centre stage globally” emphasising that Ireland needs to continue to demonstrate that “we are a country that chooses respect for human rights and equality of treatment over hate and intolerance.”

The Annual Report highlights include:

The Commission’s active role in the superior courts, as amicus curiae (friend of the court). Permission to appear in this role was granted in 5 strategic cases in 2016, building on existing amicus roles. These litigation cases offer outcomes with wide impacts and benefits to others.

30 live legal cases related to discrimination, involving the Commission at the end of 2016 – 9 related to the Equal Status Acts, 11 related to the Employment Equality Acts and 10 related to human rights.

1,780 public concerns raised directly to the Commission about discrimination

2 significant research projects underway, building evidence-based policy and decision-making on key human rights and equality issues.

  • The first with the Irish Research Council (IRC) entitled “Hate Track” to analyse online racist hate speech and form a greater understanding the barriers to reporting in Ireland.
  • The second with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) on a two-year research programme focusing on specific knowledge gaps around human rights and equality. For example, examining how attitudes to immigration and to different ethnic groups in Ireland have changed in the past 12 years.

Direct engagement with Oireachtas Members on implications of legislative proposals for human rights and equality in education (Admissions to Schools Bill), for people with disabilities (Equality/Disability Bill) and in relation to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences Bill). This domestic impact stands alongside the Commission’s international engagement with the Council of Europe and the United Nations on Ireland’s human rights obligations.

Significant progress on new legal duty of public bodies to fulfil their obligation to eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and protect human rights.

Speaking on the Annual Report to the Houses of the Oireachtas, Chief Commissioner Emily Logan states the need for continuing political leadership on human rights and equality issues:

“The Commission welcomes the trend of more frequent reference to human rights and equality standards, including international human rights standards in Oireachtas debates on key legislation.”

The Chief Commissioner concluded, “our role as an independent national human rights and equality body is ever more critical in these times of uncertainty. I look forward to the acceleration and deepening of the impact of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in the future.”

Click here for a copy of the report. 





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