IHREC joins High Court modern slavery case
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16 Oct 2018 / human rights Print

Court bid to halt fishing fleet labour exploitation

A human trafficking case due before the High Court next month will be joined by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) as an amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’). 

Mr Justice David Barniville yesterday set a High Court date next month to hear the International Transport Worker’s Federation (ITF) application for injunctions preventing the issuing or renewal of work permits for non-EU fishermen.

IHREC has identified crucial gaps in Ireland’s protections for victims of trafficking in a submission to the Council of Europe in October 2017, and sought involvement in the case as part of its anti-trafficking campaigning.

The case centres on severe labour exploitation on the Irish fishing fleet and the ITWF request for an immediate moratorium on work permits for non-EU fishermen, pending a review of conditions attaching to the scheme. 

The ITWF sought the moratorium after it identified a number of individuals who had arrived in Ireland on foot of permits granted under the scheme, who it says were subsequently subjected to severe labour exploitation on Irish fishing vessels.

IHREC previously appeared as amicus curiae in the ‘P’ case, which concerned a Vietnamese woman whom the Gardaí had discovered locked in a cannabis ‘grow house’. 

Inadequate

In that case, the High Court found that the State’s administrative scheme for the recognition and protection of victims of human trafficking was inadequate to meet its obligations under EU law aimed at combatting trafficking in human beings.

Following the ‘P’ case, IHREC met the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking (GRETA) in Dublin in December 2016 to raise concerns about how victims of trafficking are identified, protected and supported. 

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