Human Rights

Monitoring Human Rights

The ICCL plays a watchdog role by tracking the Government’s compliance with its obligations under human rights law and by ensuring that Ireland is held to account before international human rights bodies.

We regularly prepare legal analyses of proposed legislation or conduct original research on pressing issues to educate the public and decision-makers on gaps in human rights protection.

We also co-ordinate or contribute to NGO ‘shadow reports’ which are relied upon by human rights bodies to get an independent illustration of  Ireland’s compliance with its human rights obligations.

In some instances, the ICCL makes presentations directly to the United Nations (UN) and Council of Europe (COE) human rights bodies in order to inform their final conclusions on Ireland. The ICCL’s most recent activities on this front took us to Geneva where we and our NGO partners briefed the UN on Ireland’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


Some of our Current Special Projects and Campaigns:

Bringing Human Rights to Life

The ICCL works to improve the capacity of groups representing marginalised communities, in particular to support them to use human rights tools.

For example, the ICCL is working with Amnesty International (Irish Section) on a ‘shadow reporting’ kit to enhance the capacity of organisations to report to international treaty bodies.

Raising Awareness of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is the regional human rights treaty of the Council of Europe. Ireland is one of 46 countries which have signed up to the ECHR and it was recently given further effect in Irish law through the ECHR Act 2003. The ICCL promotes awareness of this Act through its policy and research work, by delivering training on human rights proofing and producing information material on the ECHR.

Calling for Robust Privacy Standards

The ICCL campaigns to safeguard the right to private life in Ireland in accordance with Article 8 (right to private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Current laws protect some aspects of privacy but neglect others. The ICCL is conducting ongoing research on the gaps present in Ireland’s privacy regime.

We are also actively calling for the introduction of better safeguards of privacy in Ireland in the areas of data protection, surveillance and biometric identity. Most recently the ICCL campaigned at the 2008 Electric Picnic in Stradbally Co Laois, collecting over 3000 signatures for an open letter to Minister for Justice, calling for the introduction of robust laws for the protection of our privacy.


Media advisory: On Eve of March for Choice, UN Spotlight Again Falls on Ireland's Human Rights Record

  • News Item
  • September 21, 2016
Media advisory: On Eve of March for Choice, UN Spotlight Again Falls on Ireland's Human Rights Record   WHAT Irish civil society groups, including the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) will this Friday address the United Nations Human Rights ...

Launch of the Report Drawing the Line: Tackling Tensions between Religious Freedom and Equal Treatment

  • Article
  • June 17, 2016

Throughout history, religious belief has often been a wellspring of motivation and inspiration for those seeking to advance justice and equality. But it has also been used as justification to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, and other religious beliefs.


This report examines several of the questions now the subject of litigation, public debate, and policy discourse with Louise Melling, Deputy Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). 

New UN opinion “cranks up pressure” for abortion law reform says ICCL

  • News Item
  • June 9, 2016
Press Release, for immediate release   A new opinion issued by the UN Human Rights Committee “cranks up the pressure” on the Government to reform Ireland’s “antediluvian” abortion laws, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties has said in a s...

Marriage Referendum First Anniversary

  • News Item
  • May 22, 2016
           PRESS RELEASE: May 22nd 2016 MARRIAGE REFERENDUM ANNIVERSARY  It’s one year to the day since the people of Ireland voted in overwhelming numbers to make marriage possible for all couples, regardless of gender. We hope that ...

Read the Draft Report of the Working Group of The Universal Periodic Review on Ireland

  • Publication
  • May 13, 2016

Advance version of Draft Report of the Working Group of The Universal Periodic Review on Ireland


13 May 2016

ICCL Welcomes Abortion Reform Pledge by New Government

  • News Item
  • May 5, 2016
Press Release, for immediate release 05 May 2016    The ICCL has welcomed the proposed Citizen’s Assembly on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, as reported to be included in the draft blueprint for Government. The ICCL looks forward to a ...

“Last call” for politicians to “nail their colours to the mast” on abortion reform

  • News Item
  • February 25, 2016
Press Release Thursday 25 February 2016 On the eve of Ireland’s 2016 General Election, the country’s independent human rights watchdog has issued a “last call” to politicians of all parties (and none) to “nail their colours to the mast” o...

ICCL calls for transparent and timely process as Government refers Constitutional Convention recommendation to Oireachtas Committee

  • News Item
  • January 14, 2016
  The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has today (14 January 2016) expressed its disappointment at the Government’s failure to give a detailed and evidence-based response to the recommendation of the Convention on the Constitution on econo...

Your Rights. Right Now. Rights Audit Launched ahead of UN Scrutiny of Ireland

  • News Item
  • December 15, 2015
Rights Audit Launched Ahead of UN Scrutiny of Ireland Press Release - for immediate release   A coalition of 17 NGOs, trade unions and civil society groups, led by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) will today (15 December 2015) launch a n...

Access to abortion is a matter of human rights and equality says rights watchdog

  • Article
  • December 10, 2015

Today (10 December 2015) - International Human Rights Day - around a dozen Irish women will travel abroad to access abortions; healthcare procedures that remain criminalised in Irish law. Denying women safe and legal pathways to reproductive healthcare is a flagrant denial of women’s human rights and a violation of Ireland’s international human rights obligations the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has said. 

Web Design By Marlton Media