Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
  • Publication
    The Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture: Paying the Price for Prevention
    (Thomson Round Hall, 2009-12)
    The successful elaboration of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 2002 certainly gave rise to cautious grounds for optimism. On its face, the Protocol is an innovative and promising addition to the cluster of international human rights instruments which were already in place to combat torture and ill-treatment world-wide. Its chief potential lies in the framework for torture prevention which it establishes, comprising both a national and international element. Specifically, the Protocol provides for the establishment of national preventive mechanisms to monitor the treatment of detainees at the local level; and, a "new generation of United Nations treaty body", the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the SPT) to operate at the international level. Unfortunately, the SPT’s first three annual reports indicate that in the space of only four years since its entry into force, a major chasm has already developed between the theoretical framework established under the Protocol and the reality of its implementation. This article begins by describing in more detail the raison d’être for the Protocol; the framework of implementation established by it; and the unfortunately halting progress made so far in getting it off the ground.
  • Publication
    Casting a Cold Eye on the Origins and Development of an All-Island Charter of Rights
    (Fordham University School of Law, 2010) ;
    One of the most striking outcomes of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement ('Agreement') was the extent to which the establishment of human rights institutions and mechanisms was brought center-stage into the shaping of the political settlement. The dynamic talks process that led to the signing of the Agreement resulted in an extensive range of obligations in regard to human rights on the part of the Irish and British governments, many of which were implemented very soon afterwards. Paragraph 10 of the 'Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity' section of the Agreement makes mention of a trans-jurisdictional human rights initiative that would mimic the institutional arrangements provided for elsewhere in the Agreement. Specifically, it vests jurisdiction in a Joint Committee of the two Human Rights Commissions to 'consider, among other matters, the possibility of establishing [an all-island] charter [of Rights], open to signature by all democratic political parties, reflecting and endorsing agreed measures for the protection of the fundamental rights of everyone living in the island of Ireland. But, despite the implications of such a potentially transformative constitutional proposal, to date, the Charter has been the subject of negligible political engagement in both jurisdictions. Undoubtedly, there are a number vital issues that must be considered in attempts to construct an all-island Charter of Rights, given the numerous potential models for its implementation. Accordingly, in order to place the matter in context, Part I of this Essay reviews the background to the clause in the Agreement which envisaged the Charter; Part II discusses the progress that has been made to date by the Joint Committee in fulfilling its mandate; and finally, Part III offers some tentative reflections for a roadmap ahead in the current political climate.
  • Publication
    Tackling the Rise of Child labour in Europe: Homework for the European Court of Human Rights
    (Cambridge University Press, 2015-07)
    The phenomenon of child labour is on the rise in Europe in the wake of the economic crisis. Specific action in tackling this practice faces a range of challenges including the often hidden nature of the work, cultural attitudes and gendered constructions of the role of children especially in domestic settings. This article explores the range of international standards and efforts made by numerous human rights tribunals aimed at combating the practice, with particular emphasis on the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. It concludes that the Court has drawn erratically on its standard methodologies (including the comparative technique) in interpreting Article 4 of the ECHR, thus providing limited guidance to European States in getting to grips with child labour.
      1096Scopus© Citations 3
  • Publication
    Strengthening the United Nations Human Rights Treaty Body System
    (Oxford University Press, 2013-06)
    The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has recently published her much anticipated report on strengthening the United Nations (UN) human rights treaty system. The latest in a series of initiatives launched by the UN over the years to improve the beleaguered treaty system, the report contains a series of recommendations aimed at improving the impact of the treaty system on rights-holders and duty-bearers at the national level. The proposals in the report are based on years of extensive consultations with key stakeholders in the treaty body system that were designed to intensify awareness of the current challenges facing the system as well as to stimulate suggestions for reform. This article considers in detail the potential of the High Commissioner’s proposals to tackle the problems in the system and their overall feasibility in the current political climate.
    Scopus© Citations 27  646
  • Publication
    A Charter of Rights for Ireland: An Unknown Quantity in the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement
    (Cambridge University Press, 2007-10) ;
    The basic aim of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement was to try to achieve a political settlement to the conflict in Northern Ireland. While the channels for the settlement were to be primarily institutional, the importance of safeguarding the rights of both communities in Northern Ireland by addressing equality and justice issues was recognized, to varying degrees, by all parties to the process that led to the drafting of the Agreement. As the negotiations progressed, the human rights section of the Agreement grew exponentially, moving ‘from the margins to the mainstream’ so that the final Agreement contains a whole section on human rights protections. Not only have these particular elements of the Agreement come to fruition, but they also have received a considerable amount of public and political interest as well as academic comment and analysis. Buried within the human rights chapter, however, is a concept that has so far received minimal interest or enthusiasm from any quarter. That is the reference in paragraph 10 of the 'Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity' chapter to the possibility of establishing an all-island Charter of Rights. The purpose of this article is threefold. First, it traces the genesis of the Charter of Rights concept through to its inclusion in the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement; secondly, it examines the approach thus far taken by the Joint Committee of the two human rights commissions to the task entrusted to them in relation to the Charter by the Agreement; and finally, it explores some of the issues that need to be considered and the challenges faced by that Committee in future efforts to assist in the construction of any such Charter. In so doing, it describes the political and legal difficulties faced in attempts not only to formulate agreement on human rights but also to create a legal document which may be applicable to two jurisdictions. It concludes by suggesting ways in which the project may be progressed.
    Scopus© Citations 4  276
  • Publication
    Human rights education: a vehicle for negotiating the challenges posed by global migration?
    (University of South-Eastern Norway, 2018-06-23) ;
    In this seminal collection, renowned multicultural education scholar James Banks brings together key findings and perspectives of scholars and educators from eighteen nations across the globe on theory, research and practice in multicultural education and citizenship in an age of global migration and diversity. This collection builds on insights gleaned some 15 years earlier on the growing challenges of balancing national unity with diversity in multi-cultural states, insights that were published in Diversity and Citizenship Education: Global Perspectives (Banks, 2004).The precise focus of this new book is to consider how citizenship education in schools can facilitate the structural inclusion of immigrant students from diverse ethnic, cultural, racial, religious and linguistic groups into their nation states. ‘Structural inclusion’ is defined by Banks in the preface to the collection as ‘...a set of attitudes and beliefs among students that are characterized by a feeling of political efficacy, political empowerment, and a belief that they can influence political and economic decisions that affect their lives by participating in the political system of their nation’. Given the unprecedented levels of migration in the intervening years and the now well-documented evidence of structural exclusion and marginalisation of minoritised groups in nation-states around the world, the book’s ambition is a timely addition to the previous volume and a compelling one for exploring possibilities on how to adapt to a pressing global reality.
  • Publication
    The Necessary Elements of Torture: A Consideration of the Views of the Human Rights Committee in Giri v Nepal
    (Clarus Press, 2012-11)
    In the case of Giri v Nepal, the Human Rights Committee has entered the fray in regard to the vexed question of how to distinguish "torture" from "inhuman" or "cruel" treatment in legal terms. The case concerned a complaint by a Nepalese farmer about his arbitrary arrest, detention and torture by soldiers on account of his suspected membership of the Communist Party in Nepal.