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Human Rights Assignment

The task of a community interpreter is to provide interpreting services to people who do not speak the language of the country they are residing in. Such services allow the client to access public services, deal with court or police in other words help in protecting his/her human rights. The scope of this paper is to look at the concept of human rights and how it developed over the years in Northern Ireland and in Poland. e will take a look on the legislation, both international and local, and organisations that govern human rights protection in both countries. e will analyse the system trying to identify any issues and offering ideas on how to rectify them. In the summary we will deal with a case study and draw conclusions from the main body of the paper.

1 Concept of Human Rights

!ven though human rights didn"t enter the spotlight until the latter half of the twentieth century those ideas were created much earlier. #any revolutions started as a form of protest against the leaders who abused their power and violated the rights of the people they governed. Such was the case with $rench %evolution with the famous motto of &libert', 'galit', fraternit'( )$reedom, e*uality brotherhood+. ,espite the noble thoughts revolutionists usually started their own reign of terror and abuse as soon as they ac*uired the power. That was how Soviet %ussia was born. It all changed fundamentally with the horror of orld ar II. #illions of dead all over the world and vast amount of destruction made the world leaders to consider the route to prevent such horrible events from ever happening again. This led to creation of -nited Nations and its -niversal ,eclaration of .uman %ights. In !urope the leaders of countries such as $rance, -nited /ingdom and 0ermany wanted to prevent another .itler or #ussolini from every sei1ing the power so after many diplomatic talks 2ouncil of !urope was created in 3454. 6egal 2ommittee of the 2ouncil proposed that a document is drafted that allows for protection of rights as written down in -niversal ,eclaration of .uman %ights. They main portion of the document was written down by the !nglishman, Sir 7scar ,owson and so !uropean 2onvention on .uman %ights was created in 3489. -nited /ingdom was the first country to sign the document and ratify it in 348:. 7ther countries followed suit. ;et to many citi1ens of !urope human rights protection was denied. Soviet %ussia and the countries that fell under its political and military sway as the result of orld ar II did not sign the document. $or them over the ne<t 59 years human rights were still a dream they had to strive for.

2 Human Rights the legislation

The original te<t of the !uropean 2onvention on .uman %ights was written down in 3489. It accounted for all the fundamental rights and freedom mentioned in -N"s ,eclaration. 7ver the years the document has been e<panded by additional protocols

that e<panded the areas protected but the system for dealing with complaints of the citi1ens remained the same and involved !uropean 2ommision of .uman %ights )now defunct+, !uropean Tribunal of .uman %ights and 2ouncil"s 2ommittee of #inisters. =fter the fall of Soviet %ussia and the !astern bloc and the former %ussian dependents such as Poland, 21ech and Slovakia or 6ithuania started to >oin the !uropean 2ouncil. =s their citi1ens started to learn about the possibility of petitioning Tribunal in Strasbourg on human rights violation the number of complaints the !2 had to deal with increased immensely threatening to make the whole system unoperational. That led to the first ma>or overhaul of the 2onvention and creation of Protocol no. 33 that replaced Protocols ?, :, 8, @, 4, 39 outlining the procedure of petitioning the 2ommission as well as dealing with the petition. It put the latter task solely in the hands of the Tribunal. The last ma>or reform took place in years ?995A?939 when it became obvious that although earlier changes made the system more operational yet they were not ade*uate. Protocol no. 35 was blocked by %ussia who considered it to be targeted at %ussian government. 0radually %ussian position changed and finally on 3 Bune ?939 the document came into force. %ights granted by !uropean 2onvention on .uman %ights and additional protocols ECHR 1950
%ight to life )article ?+ Prohibition of torture )article :+ Prohibition of slavery and forced labour )article 5+ %ight to liberty and security )article 8+ %ight to a fair trial )article C+ No punishment without law )article D+ %ight to respect for private and family life )article @+ $reedom of thought, conscience and e<pression )artice 4+ $reedom of e<pression )article 39+ $reedom of assembly and association )article 33+ %ight to marry )article 3?+ %ight to an effective remedy )article 3:+ Prohibition of discrimination )article 35+

Additional Protocols
Protocol no. 3 )348?+ A right to private possessions A right to education A right to free elections Protocol no. ? )348:+ A prohibition of imprisonment for debts A right to travel A prohibition of e<pulsion of own citi1ens A prohibition of mass e<pulsion of aliens Protocol no. C )34@:+ A prohibition of capital punishment in times of peace Protocol no.D )34@5+ A right of appeal in criminal matters A compensation for wrongful conviction A right to not be tried or punished twice A e*uality between spouses Protocol no. 3? )?999+ A general prohibition of discrimination Protocol 3: )?99?+ A abolition of the death penalty

$or community interpreters of special interests are two articles of the !uropean 2onvention on .uman %ights. &Article 5 2. Everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest and of any charge against him( and

&Article 6 1. In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. udgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be e!cluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of "uveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so re#uire, or the e!tent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would pre"udice the interests of "ustice. 2. Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law. $ .Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights% &a' to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him( &b' to have ade#uate time and the facilities for the preparation of his defence( &c' to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of "ustice so re#uire( &d' to e!amine or have e!amined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and e!amination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him( &e' to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or spea) the language used in court(. !uropean documents do not affect local matters until they are put into national legislation. Though -/ was the driving force beyond penning the 2onvention and first country to sign it many politicians were against embracing the document as they were afraid of !uropean >udges of unknown value meddling in Eritish matters. Eritish police and military practiced detention without trial while dealing with radical movements in Northern Ireland and locally. That led to denying Eritish citi1ens to petition !uropean Tribunal until 34CC. ,espite many attempts to force the 2onvention articles into legislation in the -/ there was no success in complying with the !uropean treaties. The documents were always re>ected, usually not even reaching second reading in the .ouse of 2ommons. ,uring the 49s movement for human rights was very strong garnering support from many organisations such as 6iberty or 2harter @@. hen 6abour Party came into power in 344D it published a white paper on the bill of human rights. ,espite the opposition of 2onservative Party the document went successfully through both 2ommons and 6ords and as .uman %ights =ct 344@ was incorporated into legislation. The main task of the document was to give the effect of !uropean 2onvention on .uman %ights in domestic law. -/ citi1ens could bring human rights cases before local courts instead of having to petition Tribunal in Strasbourg. =ct made it unlawful for public bodies to act against laws described in convention but did not allow to overrule any =cts of Parliament that went against the 2onvention. 2ourt

could only issue a &declaration of incompatibility( advising the legislature to amend it. Poland had its own share of troubles with introducing human rights. -nder communist regime there was no hope of even signing the documents let alone adhering to its spirit. It all changed in 34@4 when Poland regained independence and new formed government started to make up for lost time. Poland wanted to >oin the !uropean 2ouncil and signing the 2onvention was one of the re*uirements. Eoth things happened on the 3 November 3443. 2ommission that worked on creating constitution for Poland incorporated the fundamental rights granted by !uropean 2onvention into Polish main legislative document. %ight to liberty )art :3+, e*uality against law and prohibition of discrimination )art :?+, right to defence )art 5?+ or freedom of belief and thought )art 8: and 85+ are now protected by Polish constitution. 7verall there is more than twenty articles in the documents that define and describe the statutory human rights of Polish citi1ens and people who stay on Polish territory.

Human Rights the organisation

To oversee the protection of human rights government of Northern Ireland on the grounds of Eelfast =greement )0ood $riday =greement+ and Northern Ireland =ct 344@ created Northern Ireland .uman %ights 2ommission. Erought to life in 3444 the organisation was first such body in the -/. Its powers were strengthened even further by Bustice and Security =ct NI ?99D. The 2ommission"s mandate is to promote the protection of human rights monitoring compliance with !uropean and domestic legislation, advising on the creation of laws, providing legal advice to individuals, assisting in litigation and conducting research and education in the field of human rights. There is also a range of nonAgovernment organisations that deal with human rights such as =mnesty International that was created in the -/ or Northern Ireland based 2ommittee on the =dministration of Bustice. $or interpreters of special interest is Northern Ireland 2ouncil for !thnic #inorities )NI2!#+. 2reated in 3445 the organisation was set up to better the life of black and ethnic minorities to allow for the successful social development. The actions conducted by NI2!# include legal advocacy and campaigning for human rights legislation changes, support to migrants, advice and support for victims of racial harassment and discrimination and antiAracism trainings. NI2!# also conducts a number of professional development courses for community interpreters and provides interpreting services for courts, police and other public organisations and companies. In Poland constitution from 344D created a function of 7mbudsman of 2iti1en"s %ights. 7mbudsman"s role is to protect liberties, human and citi1en"s rights. .e can control the governmental organisations, companies or institutions to check whether their actions did not go against fundamental rights granted by Polish constitution. People staying on Polish territory can petition the 7mbudsman in case of any social, racial or religious discrimination or abuse of power granted that all the usual procedures failed beforehand. The 7mbudsman can then look into the matter and in case of recognising any issues opinionate to proper institutions )court, police and so on+.

There is a number of nonAgovernment organisations dealing with human rights that one can petition or ask advice from in Poland. =mong them are =mnesty International, International .elsinki $ederation for .uman %ights, .uman %ights atch or .alina Niec 6egal =dvice 2entre. $or nonAPolish speaking clients dealing with courts or police those organisations provide interpreting and translation services from the pool of sworn translators. Translators are accredited on the grounds of possessing #= *ualification in applied linguistics of a chosen language and passing the e<am before National !<amination Eoard created by #inistry of Bustice.

! Issues "ith Human Rights Protection

,espite rich legislation concerning human rights in both -nited /ingdom and Poland both countries have their problems with upholding said laws. =ccording to a report published by !uropean 2ourt of .uman %ights in cases brought before the court in years 3484A?939 -nited /ingdom has been found guilty of human rights violation ?D3 times. ,uring the same time smaller Poland was decreed guilty in a staggering number of DC3 cases. hat are the reasons for those high numbersF In the -/ most of human rights violation seems to be connected with two aspectsG criminal procedures and privacy. Troubles with paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland and on the mainland led to many inhuman actions. Eritish police and military has been known to sub>ect detainees to sleep deprivation, hooding, sub>ecting to &white noise( and deprivation of food and drink. There were also countless detentions without verdicts of a court. ,espite many highAprofile cases won by celebrities such as Naomi 2ampbell or Sarah 2o< on the grounds of their privacy being violated there was never a serious thought given to a right to privacy. In some prisons people visiting detainees had to undergo stripAsearches. =ccording to the report Poland is the fourth worst offender in !urope in the number of human rights violations after Italy, Turkey and %ussia. In Poland most of the violations are connected with right to liberty and security )?83 cases+ and overlong criminal procedure ):4D+. 2ases before Polish courts takes months to start and once they start may take years to finish. $or people unable to hire a lawyer waiting for a court appointed barrister may go on for weeks. Polish lawyers highlighted the problem of police and prison service coercing or threatening detainees to confess the crime. $inally the provision of inAcourt interpreting services seems to be subApar. Eecause of a lack of formal training for sworn translators their professional skills seem to be inade*uate to deal with often comple< language used in court proceedings.

5 #uggestions on Impro$ing Human Rights Protection

There are many things that has been done to improve human rights protection in -/ and Northern Ireland since the introduction of .uman %ights =ct 344@. 0overnmental organisations are keeping an eye on human rights protection and nonAgovernment organisations keep an eye on them. =fter finding out that NI police is made mostly of people of protestant beliefs PSNI started a recruitment drive to give e*ual access to police work for people of different beliefs. ith the end of Troubles police is acting in a more reserved manner.

It seems that blessing for protection of rights to privacy might have come in a very ugly disguise. Scandal with %upert #urdoch"s controlled News of The orld showed how often media violate this fundamental freedom of -/ citi1ens. That made people aware of a need for control of the way media operate with disregard for people"s liberties. #y only suggestion on improving human rights protection in Northern Ireland would be to look into discrimination on grounds of different nationality or belief. In Eelfast and places all over Northern Ireland there are still places and people who bar someone from entering because of being a 2atholic, Polish or black. There is still a lot of educating and informing that needs to be done before the sectarian way of thinking can be eradicated. In Poland procedure is to blame for violation of human rights. There is a startling deficit of lawyers that forces people to wait for court appointed lawyers for months. 2ourt proceedings take years to reach conclusion. It all springs from the way lawyers ac*uire *ualifications in Poland. 2orporate system throttles the creation of new professionals if they are not family and friends or are unable to pay a lot of money for application. The way to combat this would be a complete overhaul of lawyer"s training and professional development. There is also a great number of unlawful detentions in Poland with people being held in prisons for months and then being ac*uitted of any charges. It results in a violation of liberties of a detained person and huge monetary compensations later on. Sometimes people are detained in trivial cases as was the case with one student who was commuting by train with an e<pired student card. 2ourts should resort to imprisonment only when all the evidence and gravity of the case demand it. $inally there is a serious need to reform the way sworn translators are being appointed. =t present there is no formal system for training them and this needs to be promptly changed to allow for consistent high level of professionalism.

% Case #tud& and Conclusion

Bames, a -/ national from Northern Ireland, >ust arrived at the international airport of your country. .e came to your country on holiday. hen he passed through the custom at the airport he was stopped and his bags were searched. They found something, alleged cannabis but not yet confirmed, in his bag and called for the police. .e was then arrested and detained at the police station. ,etention is an unpleasant matter made even worse if detained is a foreign country and does not know local language. !uropean 2onvention on .uman %ights grants everyone right to prompt information of the reason for imprisonment and any charges that are connected with it. Eeing detained in Poland Bames could count on help of sworn interpreter and probably get all the necessary information. .owever he may encounter a lot of problem if he had to find a lawyer or if his case went before court. If he was unlucky the procedure could go on for a long time.

Polish person in the same situation in Northern Ireland would probably have no problem with the procedures but what if he or she came across a 2atholicAhating policemanF I think that procedures notwithstanding it is always people who violate human rights of other people and there is a lot of information and education that needs to be done in order to combat such a discrimination.

www.echr.coe.int/!2.% www.conventions.coe.int
Jacobs, F.G.; White, C.A. (1996). The European Convention on Human Rights. Oxford: Clare do !ress. ". #$6. %&'( 9)*+$19*,6,#,*.

!a ic-, .a/id; 0ester, A tho 1 (,$$#). Human Rights Law and Practice. 0o do : 0exis(exis '2tter3orths. "". ara. 1.$,. %&'( $#$6969)14. 0ord 5ac-a1 of Clashfer . Halsbury's Laws of England, ol! "#$% reissue. %&'( $#$6$#))66. 333."ra3ac6lo3ie-a.ed2."l 333.3i-i"edia.co7