I thank the Deputy for this question. Ireland, along with our EU partners, remains deeply concerned about the credible reports regarding the treatment of ethnic Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, including restrictions on freedom of religion and belief, arbitrary detention, widespread surveillance, forced labour, and forced sterilisations and birth control.
Ireland has been vocal about raising this issue, along with other partners in the international community. In our national statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 25 September, we reiterated our deep concern regarding the treatment of ethnic Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, and urged China to allow unrestricted access to the region for the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
At EU level, the deterioration of the human rights situation, including the treatment of minorities in Xinjiang, was raised by EU leaders with China on 14 September, and it was agreed to discuss these issues further at an EU-China human rights dialogue later this year.
Prior to this, Ireland was also one of 27 states to join a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 30 June 2020, which also called on the High Commissioner to provide regular information about the situation in the region, in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms that are guaranteed under international law.
Today, Ireland is supporting a joint statement at the UN Third Committee, which reiterates our grave concern regarding the situation in Xinjiang and recalls the exceptional letter of concern issued by 50 UN special procedures mandate holders which called on China to respect human rights and to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers.
Ireland previously joined a joint statement at the UN Third Committee last year and a joint letter at the UN Human Rights Council in July 2019, which called for the Chinese Government to urgently implement eight recommendations made by the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination related to Xinjiang, and to uphold its international obligations and respect human rights in Xinjiang.
The protection and promotion of human rights is a core pillar of Ireland's foreign policy, and Ireland will continue to monitor and assess the situation and, along with our EU partners, to engage with Chinese authorities bilaterally and in multilateral fora as appropriate.