Voting Rights for the Irish Diaspora?

Voting booth
Image via Wikipedia

The Irish Left Review picked up on an EU survey by GlobalIrish.ie on emigrant voting rights. Ireland is the only country in the 20 surveyed to have to voting rights for Diaspora or plans to bring it in. Greece is being forced to bring it in after a ruling by the ECHR. Will an Irish emigrant bring a case to try and force Ireland to change? Shouldn’t we change anyway?

European Country – Vote at national elections?
AUSTRIA – YES
BELGIUM – YES
DENMARK – (YES) but with many restrictions
ESTONIA – YES
FINLAND – YES
FRANCE – YES
GERMANY – YES – but only within countries of Council of Europe
GREECE – NO (subject to change following recent European Court of Human Rights decision)
IRELAND – NO
ITALY – YES
LUXEMBOURG – YES
SPAIN – YES
NETHERLANDS – YES
POLAND – YES
PORTUGAL – YES
ROMANIA – YES
SLOVAKIA – YES
SWEDEN – YES
SWISS – YES
UNITED KINGDOM – YES (Voting right is lost after 15 years abroad – this time limit is being challenged by a Spanish-based UK citizen.)

Being one of the only countries in the EU not to offer this right to its citizens, means we are not treating our emigrants with the respect they deserve.

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My Europe Week – Celebrating Europe Day Online

Europe Tower
Image by Leucippus via Flickr

So what started off in the comments on my post about Europe Day and continued on twitter and email has come to fruition. I give to you, My Europe Week! It takes place from the 3rd to 9th of May.

My Europe Week is a way of celebrating Europe Day online. By running for a week we incorporate both the Council of Europe’s Europe Day on May 5th (marking its foundation) and the EU’s Europe Day on May 9th (the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration).

My Europe is chance for you to say what you want from Europe. If you want more or less. If you think things should be done differently. We want to know where do you want your Europe to go! You can write about any subject relating to Europe and how you want it to develop or how it is already!

To take part simply blog about it and then let us know through this form that you have blogged. If you dont blog, you can submit a post through the form!

Please spread the word, we want as many people as possible to take part! Keep an eye on the blog for updates and of course the actual posts come My Europe Week!

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“no such institution as a ‘de facto’ family in Ireland”

The above is a ruling from Justice Susan Denham of the Supreme Court on the right of access to a child of a lesbian couple. This was overruling Justice Hedigan, of the High Court, who held that ‘de facto’ families existed under the European Convention on Human Rights.

This is an interesting ruling from the Supreme Court and takes a bit of an argument away from Gay Marriage Campaigners. The High Court judgement was being used an arguement in favour, but now its over ruled.

While its a pity Gay and Lesbian Couples aren’t recognised as families, but maybe this will put pressure on the government to legislate it for it in the Civil Partnership Bill.

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Cool EU blog

found this blog yesterday as it link to my blog and sams blog as we both commentated on the Eurobarometer results that were published.

Apologies for not doing the morning briefing this morning but i was violently sick, and had christmas shopping to do. Dossing at my voluntary job now so ill post uop nething interesting soon! Take care

Ireland criticised for failing to sign anti-slavery treaty

Europe’s leading human rights watchdog has criticised Ireland for failing to sign and ratify an international treaty tackling modern-day slavery.

The 46-nation Council of Europe approved the new convention in May 2005 to strengthen the campaign against human trafficking.

It need to be ratified by at least eight member states to come into force, but the council said today that only three countries had already done so.

It said Ireland was among dozens of countries who have not signed nor ratified the treaty.

The criticism is being made to mark International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

Source: BreakingNews.ie

Towns and regions take a stand against trafficking


The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is apprealing to all European cities and regions to sign up online to a Declaration on the fight against trafficking in human beings. The Declaration, which was presented and opened for signature on 31 May 2006 , during the Congress session, has been signed by the local elected representatives of 17 local authorities, who have thereby committed themselves to take a series of measures in their own communities. All elected representatives of local and regional authorities which have a decision-making chamber are invited to sign this text.

The Declaration is the Congress’ contribution to the Council of Europe’s campaign against trafficking, led under the slogan “Human being – not for sale!”.

We, the mayors, leaders and representatives of local authorities of the 46 member states of the Council of Europe,

Are committed to the principle of respect for human rights as expressed in the Council of Europe’s Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and especially Article 3 recognising the right of all people not to be subjected “to inhuman or degrading treatment” and Article 4 prohibiting slavery.

Are gravely concerned by the increase in the scale of human trafficking, a phenomenon that constitutes a terrible violation of human rights and undermines the fundamental principles of democracy and the rule of law.

Recall that it is at local level that the final stage of trafficking is played out and that local authorities have a fundamental role to play as guarantors of social cohesion and their citizen’s well-being and security.

Are determined to eradicate this heinous modern-day form of slavery.

Welcome therefore the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (CETS No. 197) which was opened for signature on 16 May 2005.

Pledge our full support to the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings and its twin objectives which are to raise awareness of this issue throughout Europe and to secure the earliest possible ratification and signature, by all Council of Europe member states, of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.

Commit ourselves to mobilising all forces at local level in order to ensure that the campaign message is heard at both ends of the scale of governance both at the level of citizens and at the highest levels of state government.

Undertake to make the fight against the trafficking of human beings a top priority for our administrations and to implement as many of the proposals outlined in Congress Resolution 196 (2005) on the fight against trafficking in human beings and their sexual exploitation as possible, and in particular those aiming at:

– the protection of victims, their rehabilitation and reintegration (such as the creation of resource centres/ support units at local level specialised in assistance to trafficked human beings and working in close co-operation with relevant non-governmental associations);
– provision of specialised training for all actors in this field with regard not only to identification and prevention of trafficking but also victim care;
– increased professional opportunities for women thus rendering them less vulnerable to trafficking.

Call on heads of state and government to:

– sign and ratify the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings as soon as possible if they have not already done so;
– launch and support national anti-trafficking campaigns in close co-operation with local and regional authorities to highlight awareness of this issue among those most at risk;
– fully involve local and regional authorities in the drawing up and implementation of action plans decided at national level as they are directly affected by this phenomenon;
– allocate the requisite competences and financial resources necessary for local and regional authorities to implement action and programmes at their level to combat trafficking and to provide assistance to its victims.

Show our commitment to this fight by signing the present declaration.

A list of Signatories can be seen here

So far Cavan County Council is the only Irish Local Authority to sign up to it!

Come on Local Authrorities Sign Up!!!

Click Here to Sign

June: Bloggers Against Torture!

Well this June is Toture Awareness Month, if you notice there is a blogoll in the sidebar of bloggers against torture. Torture is high on the international agenda again with USA under huge pressure to close Guantanamo and accusations of rendition flights in which 14 EU states, including Ireland , are implicate in a Council of Europe Report. More info can be found here and here