My Department does not produce a "top ten" list of countries in regard to human rights violations, nor do the EU or UN produce such a list.
Human rights are a priority of this Government and a central component of our foreign policy. In co-operation with our EU partners and other concerned states, the Government continually monitors the human rights situation in many countries throughout the world. The international community has an obligation to act when it has concerns and believes that these concerns should be pursued whenever possible in a constructive spirit of co-operation and dialogue, conscious of the responsibility which devolves on all Governments to promote and protect human rights.
This Government has commented publicly on many occasions on those situations which give rise to grave concern, in a national capacity and as a member of the EU and the Council of Europe. These concerns have also been raised on a consistent basis by this country's representatives at the UN General Assembly and at the UN Commission on Human Rights. Ireland plays an active role in the third committee of the UN General Assembly and is currently closely co-ordinating with EU partners in identifying priorities and strategies for the forthcoming General Assembly. At the most recent session of the Commission on Human Rights, the EU sponsored resolutions on the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Burma-Myanmar, Sudan, Iran, and Chechnya. The EU also drafted chair's statements on Colombia and East Timor. In addition, the EU sponsored a resolution on Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories.