I am delighted to have the opportunity to raise this important issue, coming as it does after the debate we have just had during Question Time. It is very appropriate and I thank the Minister for being in the House to reply.
Over the past year, in particular, when the global community has been preoccupied with the fight against Covid-19, it is quite understandable that issues of a human-rights nature and atrocities, which take place under various headings throughout the globe, have to some extent gone unnoticed. They were certainly not noticed to the extent they would otherwise have been. It is important that Ireland uses its position as a member of the UN Security Council to highlight locations throughout the globe where these atrocities are taking place. They take place on a daily and hourly basis, and even as we speak, they continue. Reference was made during Question Time to the situations in Sudan, Ethiopia and throughout Africa and to the atrocities various organisations visit on helpless, poor and humble communities regularly.
Atrocities against women were referred to during the previous debate and I want to emphasise that point again. These atrocities continue with greater ferocity and rapidity, and the number of incidents increases daily. Rape and sexual abuse seem to be more commonplace than they ever were. The Minister acknowledged rape has always happened during the course of a war, much to our chagrin. I hope this is being taken into account and that decisions will be made in the UN which will overhaul the activities of the perpetrators in these situations.
I have only a short amount of time to refer to the ongoing difficulties in China, which were mentioned by other Members during Question Time, in Myanmar, which continue, and in other locations throughout the globe. These atrocities seem to continue with impunity because there is a belief among the perpetrators that there will be no response, and that there can be no response. They seek the use of the time available to them to do so under cover of other tragedies.
I ask the Minister, even if it means standing out and being different from everybody else, that we use the position we now have on the UN Security Council to highlight these atrocities, to bring public and international attention to them, and to make it clear that there is a way of punishing these people and that punishment will be meted out. By doing so, nobody will presume that they can pursue such atrocities with impunity. The International Criminal Court and the war crimes tribunals were referenced in the previous debate. It is imperative that this is done as a matter of urgency so as to give ample warning to the perpetrators of the kinds of atrocities spoken about over the last hour and a half in this House. They will continue unless something really dramatic is done, that is, to let it be known that there will be retribution and that it will be swift and severe. This has happened in the past, for example, in regard to Sierra Leone and the perpetrators there.