Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (147)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

147. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has made representations to Myanmar officials urging them to investigate reports of more than 40 persons having been killed in attacks on Rohingya Muslims as called for by the UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4861/14]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Government continues to closely follow the situation of the Rohingya people in Myanmar/Burma and is deeply concerned by the recent reports of serious violence against the community in Du Chee Yar Tan village on 9 and 13 January 2014. As mentioned by the Deputy, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has called for a full and prompt investigation into these incidents to ensure that victims and their families receive justice. This follows from a comprehensive country resolution on Myanmar/Burma, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 November 2013, in which negotiation Ireland played an active role. This resolution encouraged the government of Myanmar/Burma to facilitate full, transparent and independent investigations into all reports of human rights violations to ensure accountability and bring about reconciliation.

Last week, a delegation of EU Ambassadors to Myanmar/Burma visited Rakhine in response to the ongoing difficulties in the region, including a visit to the village in question. During this visit, the delegation was accompanied by Myanmar/Burma’s Minister for Border Security of the Union. Ireland’s Ambassador to Myanmar/Burma visited Yangon from 20 -22 January 2014, and attended the monthly EU Heads of Mission meeting there. During this latest visit, the Ambassador also received updates on the situation in Rakhine from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and from Non-Governmental Organizations actively working in Rakhine.

Myanmar/Burma continues to undergo a process of long-awaited transition towards full democracy. Ireland, together with our EU partners, recognises that significant progress has been made, but that difficult and complex challenges remain. Ireland will continue to utilize the relevant bilateral and multilateral channels to urge the Government of Myanmar/Burma to address these challenges, particularly issues in regard to the Rohingya minority.