In a report submitted to the UN Human Right Council last Monday (4th March), the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Margaret Sekaggya, called on the Irish Government to “Investigate all allegation and reports of intimidation, harassment and surveillance in the context of the Corrib Gas dispute in a prompt and impartial manner”. 
The report stated that evidence that Mrs Sekaggya received indicated “the existence of a pattern of intimidation, harassment, surveillance and criminalization of those peacefully opposing the Corrib Gas project…. The information received seemed to indicate that the policing of the protests had been, in some instances, disproportionate. Moreover, there have also been serious concerns about the lawfulness of certain actions by the private security firm employed by Shell.”
The Special Rapporteur also noted the use of the Public Order Act in a manner which could, in her opinion, “undermine the right to protest”.
Commenting on the report Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington stated “All reports to date have consistently found failings in the policing of Corrib. We welcome Mrs Sekaggya’s call for an impartial investigation, which we believe can only be satisfied by competent people outside the State”
Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway commented “None of the complaints that have been submitted to the Garda Ombudsman have been properly addressed. This means that Gardaí are still not being held accountable for their actions. We believe that the Garda Ombudsman should be disbanded, and a proper oversight body be established.”
 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya – Mission to Ireland
 Shell to Sea meet UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.
The special rapporteur met with a delegation of ten people on Wednesday which included seven members of Shell to Sea.
She said she was concerned about “the situation and challenges faced by defenders and activists defending the right to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, particularly those peacefully protesting against the Corrib Gas project”.
“There is tangible frustration amongst local residents who are standing up for their rights and feel powerless, isolated and have lost trust in public institutions”, she said.
In a statement today Shell to Sea said it raised many issues of concern at the meeting;
…including violence by the Gardaí, behaviour of the private security, the democratic deficit in the planning process, surveillance and harassment, selectivity in the application of the law, the undermining and stigmatisation of campaigners by the judiciary, the politicisation of the judicial process and the ineffectiveness of designated oversight bodies in particular the Garda Ombudsman.
Sekaggya said she received “credible reports indicating the existence of a pattern of criminalization of what has mostly been a peaceful protest movement, including acts of non-compliance and passive resistance”.
Today Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway said communities in Ireland have no protection when they find themselves in the path of experimental oil and gas projects.
“We have been abused and ignored by most institutions of the state and left to defend our rights at huge personal risk,” he said.
“We hope that this report by an independent international expert will make it more difficult for the Irish State to hide it’s domestic record on human rights.”