Written Answers. - Human Rights Abuses.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

84 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether he, as a representative of a EU state, has made contact with those allegedly guilty of violation of human rights in Nigeria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8401/98]

I have outlined the approach of the Government and our European partners to the situation in Nigeria in my combined reply to oral Questions Nos. 21, 22 and 68 of today.

The Government, both bilaterally and in conjunction with our European partners, has availed of every appropriate opportunity to convey our concerns about an early return to democracy and full respect for human rights and the rule of law in Nigeria. These concerns have been conveyed both directly to the Nigerian authorities and at the UN and other appropriate fora. Along with our union partners, we have also repeatedly expressed our willingness to engage in a dialogue with the Nigerian Government on these matters. However, such offers, including those made publicly by the EU Council of Foreign Ministers, have not been reciprocated in terms of a concrete dialogue to date. In the absence of such a framework for dialogue the Government will continue to support strongly, including at this month's 54th Session of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, concerted international action which will lead to an early return to democratic government and full observance of human rights in that country.