Ireland human rights commission brings proceedings against state over migrant rights breaches – JURIST

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) announced Thursday that it is bringing proceedings before the Irish High Court over the state’s failure to properly house asylum applicants. This marks the first time that the IHREC is using its statutory powers to take the state to court.

According to its press release, the IHREC informed the High Court that it notified the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (the Minister) of its intention to invoke its powers, with its reasons being the “gravity of the situation and nature of the destitution and risk faced by unaccommodated international protection applicants”. The court responded by granting the IHREC leave to judicially review the Minister. The IHREC’s power to initiate proceedings is granted under section 41 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014.

The IHREC previously criticized a January 2023 change where applicants for international protection who are single and unaccompanied by children would not be provided with accommodation. The IHREC expressed its belief that the change put the state in “clear breach of its international obligations.” It highlighted Ireland’s obligation to provide accommodation to applicants under the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018. 

The IHREC says:

We are seeking a High Court declaration that the State’s failure to provide for the basic needs of international protection applicants is in breach of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the ECHR and/or the Constitution. We are also seeking an order requiring the Minister to provide material reception conditions, including accommodation and/or sufficient financial assistance to meet the basic needs of applicants.

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