Irish HRC report on the rights of trans people

October 18, 2008

The Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) recently published its Submission to Government concerning the protection of the rights of transgendered persons.

The full document may be downloaded here (direct link to MS Word document), but these are the conclusions and recommendations as set out in the report:

1) The IHRC is concerned that Irish law does not conform with international human rights standards relating to the rights of transgendered people.

2) The IHRC recommends that the Government take steps to remedy the current lack of protection of the rights of transgendered people under Articles 8 and 12 of the ECHR through amending legislation. The IHRC would welcome the opportunity to provide further detailed submissions on this issue.

3) The IHRC recommends that the Government convene a Working Group on Transgendered Persons to consider the implications of recent ECHR jurisprudence, the UK’s Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the case for law reform. There should be ex officio membership of that Working Group which should include representation from the IHRC, the Equality Authority, the transgendered community, civil society, the legal and other appropriate professions.

4) Given the protections currently available to transgendered persons in Northern Ireland, the issue of equivalence of rights protections as provided for in the Belfast Agreement should be considered in the context of proposed law reform.

5) The IHRC recommends that in drafting amending legislation, the Government should consider referring the draft legislation to the IHRC pursuant to its statutory function. Any such referral should provide adequate time for it to give its considered opinion on this complex issue.

Among other things, the IHRC recommends that post-operative transsexual people should be able to get new birth certificates and marry people of the “opposite sex”.

The report acknowledges that the rights of transgendered persons are gradually being recognised in Irish law, eg the Passports Act 2008 provides for “the right of transgendered persons to apply to have a passport issued in their new gender”.

However, whilst there is progress in some areas, the IHRC recommended the government move on the matter with urgency, pointing out that the current laws are not aligned with decisions by the European Court of Human Rights.

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