Wednesday, 28 January 2004

Questions (118)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh


230 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the Amnesty International report on Europe outlining its concerns regarding Europe and Central Asia for January to June 2003 has been brought to his attention; and the Government's plans to act on the recommendations of this report. [2454/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

I am aware of the Amnesty International report referred to by the Deputy. The Government values the contribution that Amnesty International makes to furthering the cause of promoting and protecting human rights internationally.

As the Deputy will be aware, the report calls for the European Union to take effective leadership in putting its human rights policies in practice at home and also outside the Union. Support for human rights is a core value which underpins the European Union and is a priority of the Irish Presidency of the Union.

On the external policies of the EU, Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union, TEU, states that efforts to "develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms" are among the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU. Article 117 of the treaty establishing the European Community requires that Community development co-operation policy also contributes to the achievement of these objectives.

In December 2002 the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council, GAERC, adopted conclusions on human rights and democratisation in third countries and re-affirmed its commitment to: coherence and consistency between Community action and Common Foreign and Security Policy, CFSP, as well as development policy through close co-operation and co-ordination between its competent bodies and with the European Commission; mainstreaming of human rights and democratisation into EU policies and actions; openness of the EU's human rights and democratisation policy through a strengthened dialogue with the European Parliament and civil society; and regular identification and review of priority actions in the implementation of its human rights and democratisation policy.

Ireland, with its EU partners, works actively to uphold human rights and frequently makes its views known to the countries concerned bydémarches and other contacts, and through its actions at the United Nations General Assembly, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Commission for Human Rights.