Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Questions (24)

Seán Crowe

Question:

24. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied) who has been arrested, released and rearrested in Sudan for the supposed crime of converting from Islam to Christianity and that they face the death penalty; and if he has raised this human rights abuse with the Sudanese authorities. [28188/14]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Irish Government has been following closely the case of Mrs. Meriam Yahia Ibrahim in Sudan. In response to her arrest and sentencing, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Eamon Gilmore T.D has made it clear that we are completely opposed to the death penalty in all cases. We also prioritise the fight against all forms of discrimination based on religion or belief, and have called on all countries to repeal legal provisions that penalise or discriminate against individuals for leaving or changing their religion or belief. Ireland has made freedom of religion or belief a priority for our membership of the Human Rights Council, from 2013 to 2015.

I was appalled by the death sentence against Ms. Meriam Yahia Ibrahim in May and Ireland strongly supported the European Union statements of 15 May and 10 June expressing our dismay and emphasising that freedom of religion is a universal human right that must be protected everywhere. We called for the urgent release of Ms. Ibrahim and her two young children, and we called on Sudan to meet its obligations under the relevant UN and African Union Conventions.

Our Embassy in Cairo, which is accredited to Sudan, has been reporting on developments in the case, and the Tánaiste welcomed Ms. Ibrahim’s release from prison on 23 June. I pay tribute to all involved in facilitating her release, including the EU Delegation to Khartoum and the Human Rights Council’s Independent Expert for Sudan.

I understand that Ms. Ibrahim and her family were detained and prevented from leaving Sudan on 24 June and that there are issues to be resolved before she is free to travel. I call on those responsible to resolve these issues as quickly as possible. Our Embassy in Cairo will continue to monitor developments and to work with our EU partners to encourage an early resolution of the case.