ICI News Bulletin, Issue 106
Monday, 4th February 2013
The European Year of Citizens, 2013, is off to a busy start for the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
As I write to you, the Government review of the laws on prostitution is moving towards a conclusion and together with over 60 other organisations which have been campaigning for change. We remain hopeful that action will be taken to end exploitation, abuse and trafficking.
You can still add your voice at www.turnofftheredlight.ie/action.
We started the year with a major conference on citizenship during which research was published showing that over half of Ireland’s new citizens (52%) believe their new status has not led to greater integration, underlining how much more needs to be done.
A Council of Europe report which found Ireland does not conform with its obligations under the Social Charter prompted us to again call for immigration reform.
There is also much to look forward too in the coming weeks and months including a major conference on Family Reunification, International Women's Day and the production of the Hijabi Monologues. Remember updates are posted daily on Facebook, Twitter and our website www.immigrantcouncil.ie.
Thank you again for your continued support and together lets ensure the European Year of Citizens, 2013, will be used to ensure Ireland offers fair and just opportunities to all.
Immigrant Council of Ireland.
1. Driving the debate on Immigration Reform
2. 2013: A year to stand up to pimps and traffickers?
3. Justice Committee holds second and third round of hearings on submissions on prostitution legislation
4. ICI leads response to critical Council of Europe report
5. Ireland's new citizens seek greater integration
6. Immigrant Council of Ireland seeks Solicitor, deadline 8th February 2013
7. Family Reunification
8. Hijabi Monologues Ireland
9. Launch of online resource for teachers interested in social justice issues
Driving the debate on Immigration Reform
The ICI continues to be at the forefront in seeking immigration reform and has submitted a substantial submission to the Law Reform Commission as it continues a 4th programme of reform. Our submission covers a number of areas where action is need including:
The ICI welcomes the opportunity the 4th Programme of Law Reform presents and we hope that the issues raised by us will benefit and inform the work of the Law Reform Commission in the coming years. We are committed to making a contribution to the urgently needed reforms in this area of law and would be available to provide briefings, background information or other supports which may be of assistance to the Law Reform Commission. Read our submission in full at Immigration, Residence and Citizenship – an Area for Law Reform.
Clear immigration rules in primary legislation;
Provision of a right to family reunification;
Introduction of permanent immigration status;
Reform of the naturalisation process;
Avenues for the regularisation of undocumented migrants;
Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking;
Establishment of an independent appeals mechanism for the review of immigration decisions and;
Legal safeguards against refusal of entry.
2013: A year to stand up to pimps and traffickers?
The Turn Off the Red Light campaign has reached a critical stage and your support is now needed to ensure the Government takes the right decision and moves to end exploitation, abuse and trafficking by targeting buyers of sex.
A day of action prompted over 60 organisations across the country to encourage supporters to contact their local politicians and demand new laws. You can still add your voice at www.turnofftheredlight.ie/action.
Denise Charlton, CEO of ICI, appearing on RTE's Morning Edition to discuss government review of prostitution legislation.
Increasing public awareness of the issue remains a priority and we continue to raise it in the media at every possible opportunity, including a recent appearance on RTE’s new Morning Edition programme.
Justice Committee holds second and third round of hearings on submissions on prostitution legislation
Last summer, the Minister for Justice and Equality issued a discussion document on the future direction of prostitution legislation to the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality. The Committee received more than 850 written submissions from interested groups or individuals in relation to this Review. Following on from this, the Committee invited some of those who wrote submissions to present their arguments in a series of hearings. The first round of hearings took place in December 2012.
This January, the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality continued its hearings on submissions received in relation to the review of legislation on prostitution in Ireland. Turn Off the Red Light partners and supporters were invited to present to the committee including; The Irish Feminist Network, Women’s Aid, Ms. Monica O’Connor, Doras Luimní and Ms. Linda Latham. The Committee hearings are a welcome first step by the government in addressing the outdated legislation on prostitution in Ireland in order to end the abuce and exploitation in the sex industry.
ICI leads response to critical Council of Europe report
The Immigrant Council of Ireland has taken the lead in calling for action on work permit fees and to ensure equal access to vocational training after a Council of Europe report found that we are not meeting our international obligations in both areas.
The report found that fees here are ‘excessive’ and a barrier to gainful employment while there is a lack of equality in accessing training for migrants. The ICI issued a press release on the day of the report available here while a letter was also published in the Irish Times and is available to read here.
Ireland's new citizens seek greater integration
A very successful conference on Active Citizenship was hosted by the Immigrant Council of Ireland in Dublin on January 16th. During the conference a survey of new citizens was launched and prompted media coverage in the Irish Times and on radio. Details of the survey can be accessed at here, while the newspaper coverage is available here. In her contribution, our Senior Solicitor Hilkka Becker highlighted that while there has been some progress, with waiting times for citizenship applications halved in recent years, Ireland also continues to have one of the few immigration systems in Europe which lack guidelines, clarity and an independent appeals mechanism.The forthcoming review of legislation in the area provides an opportunity to introduce an appeals process throughout the immigration system. You can view ICI's report on the 'Administrative Implementation Regulating Irish Naturalisation' in Ireland here.
Hilkka Becker, ICI Senior Solicitor, speaking at citizenship conference on 16/01/13
The ICI is proud to be the Irish Country Coordinator of an online Europe-wide initiative on integration. We provide input to the European Website on Integration www.integration.eu. We are always looking for case studies to highlight and to contribute to this important debate in Europe, if you have a story or experience to share please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Immigrant Council of Ireland seeks Solicitor, deadline 8th February 2013
The Immigrant Council of Ireland is seeking a highly motivated individual to support the work of the ICI Independent Law Centre. The Solicitor will be employed to provide advice, advocacy and representation services in the areas of immigration, citizenship and anti-discrimination law. They will also be responsible for contributing to legal research and law reform work of the Immigrant Council of Ireland. To view full details, please click on the link. If you have any friends or family who maybe interested in joining us please pass on the information.
The ICI is hosting a major international conference on the issue of family reunification in Dublin on February 14th next. Speakers from both European and national levels are attending to address this important issue. Since the ICI first opened, we have taken enquiries from migrants and Irish citizens about how they and their family members can overcome obstacles to living together in Ireland.
Family reunification and family unity have consistently been among the top 10 types of enquiry dealt with by our Information and Referral Service and our Legal Service. Details of our work in this area can be accessed here, while full details of the conference are available on our website www.immigrantcouncil.ie. If you wish to attend please contact Sinéad at email@example.com.
Hijabi Monologues Ireland
Hijabi Monologues Ireland is progressing with great momentum as we reach the deadline for submission of stories for the theatre project to be staged in axis: Ballymun on April 18th - 20th. Hijabi Monologues Ireland is a theatre production co-organised by the ICI, which encourages and provides a safe space for women to share their stories. These monologues go beyond the much debated hijab and present personal insights – ranging from comical to painful – into the experiences of Muslim women in Ireland.
On March 8th, the ICI invites you to come and celebrate International Women's Day with a special preview of Hijabi Monologues Ireland, as we celebrate the diverse and individual experiences of Muslim women in Ireland. For more details and to RSVP please contact Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Launch of online resource for teachers interested in social justice issues
On the 7th February, the ICI, in partnership with Pivotal Arts and Educate Together will launch thinkandact.ie, an online resource for teachers interested in social justice issues.
The launch will take place at Wood Quay venue, Dublin City Offices, Dublin 2, and will be presented by Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald TD. RSVP to: email@example.com or 01 4292500 by Monday 4th February.