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.


Supreme Court Decision D.L., O.A & ORS May 2003

  • Publication
  • May 8, 2003

Supreme Court Decision D.L., O.A & ORSICCL submission to joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights

ICCL Submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance and the Public Service 14th March 2003

  • Publication
  • April 11, 2003

ICCL Submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance and the Public Service

The Need for Abortion Law Reform in Ireland: The Case Against the Twenty-Fifth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2001

  • Publication
  • July 9, 2001


A position paper prepared by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties on the basis of legal research by James Kingston and a policy analysis by the Council's Executive and Women's Committee.

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