Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

Discriminatory Practices Against Minorities

Discriminatory Practices Against Minorities

There is a relatively high level of intolerance towards Roma. They often face discrimination in employment, access to housing, education, healthcare and social welfare. Most notable case occurred in 2013, when the authorities tried to take away two girls from a Roma family, suspecting them being kidnapped due to their “white” appearance. Police acted without preliminary investigation, guided by an anonymous tip.

The so-called Traveller community face similar problems. In January, it was reported that police had entered 40 Traveller families into the PULSE police database, including a 16-year-old minor.

LGBT discrimination has also been noted. A report by GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network), published in late February 2014 has revealed that almost one-in-three lesbian, gay and bisexual workers in Ireland are faced with harassment at their workplace. 10% of LGBT employees in Ireland reported they had already left a job due to homophobic or transphobic discrimination.

Transgender people are able to change their names and gender in passports, but are unable to receive a corresponding birth certificate or other official documents. To receive a new passport, they must provide evidence of gender-reassignment operation. They also face problems when some of their documents are obsolete and cannot be updated after gender reassignment, resulting in difficulties with access to employment, education and social welfare. According to the Basic Rights Agency report, published in 2012, 58% of transgender people have faced discrimination in 12 months.

Ireland practically lacks criminal legislation regarding hate crime. On June 18th, the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) also deplored the lack of hate crime legislation in the country, which had given Irish society a “permission to hate”. The warning came as TENI released a new report which documented 32 incidents of violence or discrimination against transgender persons.

In relation to the period under consideration, iReport.ie saw a reluctance by people who had experienced or witnessed racism to report it to the police (Garda) or other state bodies – with 5 out of 6 people saying that they would not report to the Irish Police or other official bodies. Reasons cited by respondents to iReports survey included: a reluctance to risk exposing oneself to further victimisation by sharing identifying details, a reluctance to engage in a lengthy legal or other process(es) that might result from issuing a report, and a reluctance to use forms that use complicated technical language and other off-putting vocabulary.[1]

The implementation of the police electronic system Garda Plus in law enforcement practice has given the Irish government the opportunity not to legally transfer data on hate crimes and judicial investigations in this area to the OSCE/ODIHR. In particular, on the ODIHR website, you can find information that the country did not transfer these data for 2020 to the OSCE due to the fact that a new system was introduced. Meanwhile, Ireland last shared data on hate crimes with the organization in 2019, while data on investigations and negotiations were never shared. This is largely due not only to the introduction of new electronic systems, but also to the fact that Irish criminal law does not provide for hate motives, which ODIHR has repeatedly pointed out.

This is what allowed the Irish Commission on Human Rights and Equality, in its report to the UN on the situation of racial discrimination in November 2019, to state that "the state is not able to adequately combat racism and discrimination and fulfill its international obligations in the field of human rights in the fight against racial discrimination". The comprehensive report assesses Ireland's performance in combating racial discrimination since 2011 and makes over 150 recommendations for government action.

The Commission stated that the country was developing as a diverse multi-ethnic and multinational society. Significant positive legal, policy and institutional developments have taken place, including the recognition of Traveler ethnicity, but significant concerns remain. The Commission highlights significant issues of concern in a detailed report and makes recommendations:

1) On Hate Speech and Hate Crime:

  • Current legislation, the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act (1989) is inadequate to effectively address hate speech. This law needs modernisation and reform.
  • The State should develop a comprehensive regulatory framework to combat hate speech online. Compliance should be enforced by an independent statutory body and promoted by effective and proportionate sanctions. Media codes must also be more responsive in this regard.
  • Reliance on judicial discretion in sentencing for hate motivated offences limits the justice system’s ability to deal with hate crime..

2) On Discrimination Targeted Against Specific Groups:

  • Public services are not yet sufficiently responsive to the needs of minority communities. This includes the area of criminal justice and policing, in the health sector and across education.
  • There is a growing evidence base regarding the cumulative discrimination and racism experienced by people of African descent, and particularly women of African descent. Public awareness raising and education measures to address discrimination and prejudice are required from the State.
  • Persistent systemic institutional racism against Travellers, and the continued and widespread prevalence of discriminatory attitudes towards Travellers remains one of the most significant areas where the State is failing to meet its obligations.
  • Labour market discrimination in Ireland is a consistent issue. It demonstrates troubling attitudes to particular groups in society including Travellers, Roma, and people of African descent who face experience significant barriers to accessing employment.

3) On international protection and human trafficking:

  • The policy of direct provision and dispersal does not protect the rights of international protection applicants. The State should move away from contracting out its international human rights obligations towards international protection applicants represented by the for-profit mode of Direct Provision.
  • Reforms set out in the 2015 McMahon Report need to be pushed forward. In the long term the Commission recommends the complete phasing out of direct provision.
  • The State needs to act to amend retrogressive measures on family reunification introduced in the International Protection Act 2015.
  • The State has yet to adequately recognise the seriousness of human trafficking as a human rights violation in Ireland, with chronic deficiencies remaining in the victim identification process..

Back to list

© 2017 Civic Nation
Created by – NBS-Media