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Strengthening Human Rights for the Disadvantaged

Resource type: Grantee Story

The Irish Human Rights Commission, the Belfast Agreement, the European Union Charter on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, the European Convention on Human Rights and the proposed all-Ireland Charter of Rights present opportunities to achieve improvements in the ability of disadvantaged people to access the rights and services they are entitled to under law.

In the absence of a strong, stable, professional human-rights infrastructure, it is unlikely that disadvantaged groups will benefit from these opportunities. A sustainable network of independent organisations is required to advocate on behalf of the disadvantaged to ensure their human rights are protected in future legislative and policy actions.

Purpose and Impact of the Grant

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is an Irish NGO that legally analyses government policy and legislation using a human-rights framework. While ICCL has been successful in the past with very limited resources, it has identified the need to strengthen its capacity if it is to successfully address human rights issues such as the increasing levels of discrimination and inequality.

In 2004, Atlantic awarded a grant to assist ICCL in undertaking a strategic review and planning exercise. The organisation used this opportunity to consider its strategic focus for the following five years and determine the challenges it would face in achieving its objectives.

In 2005, Atlantic approved a five-year grant to enable ICCL to implement its strategic plan. This longer-term grant will enable the organisation to increase its research and policy output; implement a communications strategy that increases its impact; and diversify its funding base in order to secure the organisation’s long-term sustainability.

By working in coalition with other organisations, ICCL aims to enhance the protection of the rights of the disadvantaged by delivering greater recognition and protections of their rights in legislation and policy. This will include advocating for improved accountability mechanisms within Ireland’s democratic structures; working to develop a more informed media focus on rights issues; and fostering greater public awareness of the importance of human rights.