Monday, February 08, 2010

"Multicultural" Problems in Ireland

Two recent stories from Ireland illustrate nicely how unprepared the small nation is for the influx of cultural enrichers from the world's worst countries. Those who promote and encourage multiculturalism might at least have done their homework first.

These two tales show how little respect some people have for Western culture, and what pussies we are when it comes to taking a stand. Do we think we earn respect for this?

The second tale is far more serious, and FGM is something conservatives and feminists can actually agree on. But yet, the MultiCult shows its lack of balls once more. The Professional "Care" industry can't come up with solutions, so instead form committees to worry about the problem in the hope that it will go away, in the meantime using lots of taxpayers' money to find jobs for Cultural Studies and Womens' Studies graduates along the way.

First up, a tale of Polygamy in the High Court:

The Sunday Times reported yesterday that the High Court will soon rule on the validity of an Irish citizen’s marriage under s. 29 of the Family Law Act, 1995. The man is Lebanese. He married two women in Lebanon, where polygamous marriage is permitted. He entered Ireland with his second wife and claimed asylum. His first wife arrived in Ireland much later. The man has children with both and apparently lives with both in Ireland. Seven years ago the Department of Justice had refused to grant a visa to the man’s first wife. However, after the man challenged the refusal in the High Court, the Department agreed to quash its initial refusal. As part of this settlement, the man is required to seek a s. 29 ruling. The Times reports that ‘[t]he state and the wives are all represented in the case. The residency rights of both spouses will depend on the decision. A number of similar cases are awaiting the outcome.’ The case looks to be (or is very similar to) that of Hussein Ali Hamoud. The Irish Independent reported on his case in 2003 here. There is been remarkably little media discussion of the case today. Marian Finucane discussed the issue, to some extent, on RTE Radio 1 yesterday. The podcast is here (from minute 21). The Examiner also published a short opinion piece.

Three issues of interest arise from the Times report:

  • First, the Times reports that ‘[i]n 2004 the justice department introduced a requirement that Muslims seeking naturalisation sign a form confirming they had only one wife and would not marry a second one.’ At the time, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties criticized the requirement. Here is a small part of the press release published by the Council at the time:

Irish law does not recognise polygamous marriages. Therefore, if a Muslim man who already had one wife was to marry an Irish citizen, that marriage would not be considered to subsist in Irish law – therefore the question of applying for citizenship would not arise. If the Muslim man is lawfully married to an Irish citizen and wanted to enter into another marriage in Irish law, he would not be permitted to unless he was lawfully divorced from his previous wife – therefore he is being asked to swear to a situation that cannot arise in Irish law. Therefore the affidavit has no legal value or validity. It assumes that as Islam as a religion will permit – but does not require or promote polygamy – that Muslims, irrespective of whether they come from secular societies or states that do not recognise polygamy, do not understand or would not respect the normal law of the land because they are “different”. It shows a deep lack of respect for the Muslim community in Ireland – both Irish nationals and non-Irish nationals – who live here in complete accordance with our laws. It belies an ignorance about the many millions of Muslims around the world who live in monogamous marriages, and live in countries, predominantly Muslim or not, where polygamous marriages are also not permitted in law. Muslims in Ireland are required to – and do – live in accordance with the Irish law, irrespective of their religious faith and the swearing of an affidavit regarding their religion, because it has no objective basis or rationale is discriminatory.

  • Second, the Times quotes the Department as saying that “[t]he Irish Supreme Court in 1989 determined that polygamous marriages and potentially polygamous marriages are not valid and not entitled to recognition in Irish law.” This statement involves a fair reading of Conlon v. Mohamed [1989] I.L.R.M. 523. However, it is possible to deny polygamous marriage the ’status’ of marriage under Irish law, while simultaneously recognising the relationship between spouses in a polygamous relationship for other purposes, especially where financial support obligations are concerned. Courts in Canada and in South Africa have been especially creative in this regard. A refusal to recognise both of this man’s marriages as marriages may not spell the end for accommodation of polygamy at Irish law.
  • Third, the Times quotes the Immigrant Council of Ireland as saying that the case highlights the need for the government to address gaps in immigration legislation dealing with family reunification. On its Facebook page the ICI reminds us that:
  • it has been calling on the Government, for years now, to set down clear rules about who qualifies to live in Ireland as the family member of an Irish citizen or migrant. It has yet to do so and the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2008, currently awaiting Report Stage in the Dáil, is silent on this issue. The EU Family Reunification Directive, which Ireland has “opted out” of, specifies that a migrant in polygamous marriages coming to Europe may bring one spouse. Ireland has no legislation.

We will have further commentary as and when a judgment appears.


Second, a much more serious case,

Call for Ban on FGM in Ireland

Here 's one those stories that shows just how far we have come from being a country that has had a limited number of problems to deal with to a truly multicultural one with multicultural problems.

Not that there is any shortage of those, but this story just shows how much money and effort is spent solving a problem we should really not have to solve.

One presumes that Female Genital Mutation is already illegal. But it cannot just be illegal, it must be a "violation of human rights" as well.

Of course it is, and so are a lot of other things. But we all know that labelling something as such is not mere posturing on the part of an elite who believe such labelling reinforces their sense of moral superioriy, but a segway into a whole new area of government control.
Why a "specific legislation" to ban FGM? Does it not fall under a number of other prohibitions, such as Assault, Child Abuse, and Sexual Abuse?

Just look at what that legislative distinction requires - endless "campaigns", "committees" and the inevitable "community-based initiatives". Why can't appalling, barbaric practices just be illegal, or even just morally reprehensible?
Do not mistake this for lack of sympathy. FGM is an inhuman (no, not "inhumane"), brutal and horrific practice and should be punishable by punishments we don't even have in our legal system (although maybe in Saudi Arabia's). But more "steering committees" we do not need.

What we need is more punishment for parents who carry out such acts, preferably including immediate deportation, while their victims can remain in Ireland.
Politely asking them not to mutilate their children is not the answer.
According to a report in the Irish Times, a number of participants at an event held by the National Steering Committee on Female Genital Mutilation to mark International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM called for a stepping up of the campaign for a new law banning the practice of FGM in Ireland.
During the event, serious concerns were expressed about whether the current legal framework in Ireland served as an effective tool for addressing the practise of FGM. While Government advice has indicated that female genital mutilation constitutes an offence under assault laws, speakers at the seminar said distinct legislation was needed.

According to the Irish Times report, a spokesman for Minister for Health Mary Harney said: “The question of introducing specific legislation to ban female genital mutilation remains under review. However, we cannot be specific on a timeframe for this review at this stage.”

The Irish Steering Committee came together in early 2008 to develop the Plan of Action to address Female Genital Mutilation, which was finalised in late 2008. The report is a valuable source of information on the practise of FGM in Ireland and elsewhere. The document highlights that ‘a proactive and coordinated response is required to prevent the establishment of the practice [of FGM] in Ireland and to provide care for women and girls living in Ireland who have already undergone FGM in their country of origin’.

It identifies a number of strategies ‘as being essential to addressing FGM in Ireland and in other countries through Irish development policies’, focusing on actions under 5 strategy headings: legal, asylum, health, community and development aid. From a legal perspective, the report quotes earlier research carried out by the Women’s Health Council which, amongst other things, highlighted the shortcomings and the inappropriateness of existing legislation in terms of prosecuting FGM.

According to the Plan of Action and the Women’s Health Council, both the levels of prevalence and incidence of FGM in Ireland are relatively low. However, it is highly regrettable that steps are not being taken at this stage so as to proactively prevent future cases of FGM in Ireland, rather than waiting until the state may find itself in a ‘reactive position of having to deal with the more problematic eradication of a practice already established in a new context’ (Women’s Health Council).

There is no question that law can, in and of itself, serve as an absolute deterrent to or panacea for FGM. Indeed, international experience demonstrates that the legal prohibition of FGM unaccompanied by community-based initiatives focussing on health and education will not result in a significant reduction in the practice. However, it is arguable that bringing about the legal prohibition of FGM is relatively easy and can certainly be achieved more quickly than the changes in societal attitudes and other factors affecting practitioner communities that are necessary for the practice to be discontinued.

In addition, a strong legal framework can strengthen the ability of agencies to protect children at risk and provide them with appropriate care (‘Plan of Action’), as well as providing support to members of communities who are under pressure to subject their children FGM and are reluctant to do so. Given the egregious impact that FGM has on the human rights of girl children, a failure to take the step of establishing an effective and watertight legal prohibition on the practise is inexcusable.

In 2001, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly passed Resolution 1247 calling on the governments of member states (including Ireland) ‘to introduce specific legislation prohibiting genital mutilation and declaring genital mutilation to be a violation of human rights and bodily integrity’. It remains to see when Ireland will respond to this call.

In January of this year, Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner-Designate for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship declared her commitment to taking “concrete action on FGM” and outlined a series of steps that she would take, including working with the with Commissioner-Designate for Home Affairs to harmonise criminal offences and sanctions in criminal law.

There is thus a growing awareness and concern about FGM throughout Europe – a fact that is reflected in the development of the END FGM European Campaign. This Campaign is run by Amnesty International Ireland, in partnership with non-governmental organisations across the European Union. A new document was launched at yesterday’s seminar entitled, “ENDING FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION: A Strategy for the European Union Institutions” as part of that campaign.

While developments at the EU level are to be welcomed and encouraged, they do not serve to absolve Ireland of its obligations to take measures to address FGM under Article 24 CRC, Article 3 ECHR and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (for more, see the statements of the Committee responsible for monitoring CEDAW here, here and here). It is therefore incumbent on Ireland to take action now to provide support to current victims of FGM and to prevent the creation of new ones.

1 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Are the Leprechauns going to wake up before their country is as fucked up as England???

I hope so...