Below is extract from newsletter of AMRI Justice Desk
Summer Conferences –
A call to Action and Unity – Forming Ireland’s Response to the Refugee and Migration Crisis was the title of a conference hosted by the Immigration Council of Ireland in Trinity College on June 9th and 10th. I represented AMRI at this conference. The conference brought together politicians from Europe and Ireland as well as the many NGOs. The conference was opened by President Michael D. Higgins who spoke passionately on the issue of forced migration. There were presentations from the EU perspective, the Department of Justice and Equality, and NGOs working in the field. The most impressive presentation for me, was the one given by Demetrrios G Papademetriou, Co-Founder of the Migration Policy Institute and president of MPI Europe who strongly criticized the EU’s handling of the refugee crisis. He clearly demonstrated the “gap between what countries say they will do and what they actually do.” He emphasised the importance of the role of civil society and said “that a smart civil society is the key to enforcing governments to do what is required.
The Role of Church in a Pluralist Society: Good Riddance or Good Influence? Was the title of a conference hosted by the Loyola Institute Trinity College on June 22nd -24th. This was an international conference which attract many international speakers. I attended this conference with others from AMRI. During the three days there was a lot of discussion on the distinctive role of Church in the Public Square from a variety of perspectives. It was an opportunity to hear diverse views but it was also reminder of the work we need to do in Ireland in order to create a distinctive role for the Church in the Public Square. The papers from the conference will be published in due course.
The British and Irish Association for Practical Theology (BIAPT) July 12-15.
The BIAPT conference was held in University of Limerick this year. I was invited to be one of the contextual speakers where I presented on “Boundary Crossing Ministry in Ireland: Challenges for Practical Theology.” There was approximately 150 practical theologians in attendance. The Brexit vote had just taken place earlier that week and needless to say it was one of the issues that formed the backdrop for much of the reflection during the conference. I particularly valued the opportunity to network with others who were involved in the area of forced migration.
A Research Report on The Legacy of Direct Provision:
I attended the launch of an excellent research report entitled “Transition from Direct Provision to life in the community: The experiences of those who have been granted refugee status, subsidiary protection or leave to remain in Ireland. The report highlights the multiple challenges faced by former asylum seekers in attempting to make the transition from Direct Provision to life in the wider community. The report highlighted a number of recommendations. The report is a must read for all who are interested in this area. A copy of the report is on both the IMU and CORI websites.
Au Pair Placement Bill 2016
The Au Pair Bill 2016 has been the focus of much discussion. The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), which has worked with domestic workers and au pairs in Ireland since 2001, has expressed its opposition to the proposed Au Pair Placement Bill 2016 which is now in its second stage in the Dáil. To read more about this bill and its consequences follow this link: http://www.mrci.ie/blog/au-pairs-in-ireland-facts-myths/
Update on The need for Hate Crime Legislation in the Republic of Ireland
CORI and IMU, (this will change to AMRI, once we have our logo) are members of the European Network for Anti-Racism. Unfortunately, racism and xenophobia have the potential to increase in Ireland unless we all actively ensure that this does not happen. Ireland unlike most EU countries, does not have a proper legal framework to protect people against hate-motivated attacks.
As the result of a petition back in June 2015 on behalf of ENAR Members, the European Parliament’s PETI commission has begun an investigation into Ireland’s compliance with the 2008 EU Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia, and asked the European Commission to conduct an investigation into the problem so that it can adjudicate.
The 2008 Framework Decision obliges member states to make adequate provisions to punish hate crime. Notably it “requires member states to punish a range of ‘expression offences’ and ancillary offences, but also, under Article 4: Racist and xenophobic motivation
“… Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that racist and xenophobic motivation is considered an aggravating circumstance, or, alternatively that such motivation may be taken into consideration by the courts in the determination of the penalties.”
This should have been transposed into Irish Law by November 2010. However, the Irish Government says it doesn’t need to, arguing that judges have discretion to take racism into account. We believe this is not sufficient. It will be interesting to see the finding of the investigation.
There is still time to sign the Love not Hate Campaign Sign and share the petition (link to share: bit.ly/LoveNotHate2)
Social Justice Ireland
Social Justice Ireland launched their Budget Choices 2017 which outlines comprehensive proposals and policies and policies that can deliver a vibrant economy, a just society and a sustainable future. This is a valuable document and one which can be accessed on their website https://www.socialjustice.ie/sites/default/files/attach/publication/4474/2016-07-13-budgetchoices2017finalweb.pdf.