Shatter faces calls to “champion” victims’ rights

Minister Shatter at ICCL Victims' event, 12 April 2012

Press Release – For immediate release 

Thursday 12 April 2012

Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter TD faced calls to be a “true champion” for victims’ rights at a high-level conference hosted by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) in Dublin Castle today (Thursday, 12 April 2012).

The Minister gave the opening address at the event, ‘The EU Directive on Victims’ Rights: Opportunities and Challenges for Ireland’ which brought victims’ groups from across Ireland together with Europe’s top victims’ rights experts.

The ICCL conference was held in parallel to discussions in Brussels this week on a proposed new EU Directive to establish minimum legal standards on the rights, support and protection of the human rights of victims of crime.

Introducing the Minister, ICCL Director Mr Mark Kelly said:

“Alan Shatter has a strong track record of supporting the human rights of the victims of crime during his time in opposition, including by bringing forward two private members bills on victims’ rights.  The Irish Council for Civil Liberties also welcomes his recent Ministerial announcement that Ireland will “opt in” to the new EU Directive on Victims’ Rights.”

“Some of the Minister’s predecessors have claimed that victims’ rights can only be advanced by watering down fair trial protections, a claim which victims’ organisations know to be untrue.  By contrast, if Ireland plays a full part in discussions on the new EU Directive on Victims’ Rights and commits to fully translate the Directive into Irish law and practice, Minister Shatter will have proved that he is a true champion of the human rights of crime victims” Mr Kelly concluded.

ENDS

For more information, please contact:

Walter Jayawardene

Communications Manager

Irish Council for Civil Liberties

9-13 Blackhall Place

Dublin 7

Ireland

Tel. + 353 1 799 4504

Mob: +353 87 9981574

E-mail: walter.jayawardene@iccl.ie

Twitter : @ICCLtweet  #ICCLVRP

NOTE TO EDITOR:

The Conference The EU Directive on Victims’ Rights: Opportunities and Challenges for Ireland took place on Thursday 12 April 2012 from 9.30am-2.30pm in Dublin Castle’s Conference Centre. The conference was opened by Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD. Speakers included:

  • Professor Antony Pemberton, International Victomology Institute Tilburg
  • Ray McAndrew, Chair of the Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime
  • Gillian Hussey, Chair of Crime Victims’ Helpline
  • Dr. Shane Kilcommins, UCC
  • David McKenna, President of Victim Support Europe
  • Mark Kelly, Director, Irish Council for Civil Liberties

The European Commission’s Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of Crime was published on 18 May 2011 and is available at this link: http://eujustice.iccl.ie/sites/default/files/legislation/Proposal%20for%20a%20Directive.pdf

On 22 June 2011, Minister Alan Shatter secured cabinet agreement for Ireland to opt in to the discussions on this new Directive: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/0622/breaking26.html 

Speaking at the time, Minister Shatter said: "I am delighted to get sanction to formally bring a motion before the house on this issue. Opting in to the Victims Directive will allow Ireland to play a full role in shaping the Directive in negotiations over the next eighteen months.”

The most recent version of the Directive dated 9 December 2011, can be found at: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/11/st18/st18241.en11.pdf

Collins Photo will file photographs of the conference with photo desks.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is Ireland’s leading independent human rights watchdog, which monitors, educates and campaigns in order to secure full enjoyment of human rights for everyone. The ICCL is an entirely independent organisation and does not rely on government support or funding. Founded in 1976 by Mary Robinson and others, the ICCL has played a leading role in some of Ireland’s most successful human rights campaigns. These have included campaigns to establish an independent Garda Ombudsman Commission, legalise the right to divorce, secure more effective protection of children’s rights, decriminalise homosexuality and introduce enhanced equality legislation. Since 1976 the ICCL has tirelessly lobbied the State to ensure the full implementation in Ireland of international human rights standards.

One of the ICCL’s strategic aims is to “advocate for a fair and just criminal justice system that respects the human rights of all involved”. Following on from our 2008 report, A Better Deal: The Human Rights of Victims in the Criminal Justice System, the ICCL has been engaged in policy and advocacy work at domestic and, particularly, at EU level to secure better protections for victims of crime. The ICCL Charter of Rights for Victims of Crime, also published in 2008, sets out 6 fundamental rights for crime victims: information; privacy; protection from harm; participation; remedy; support, recognition and respect.

 

 


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