Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Questions (111)

John Lahart

Question:

111. Deputy John Lahart asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the persecution of Christians in over 60 countries often happening alongside the persecution of other religious minorities; the stance Ireland has taken with regard to these acts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51684/18]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Ireland is committed to promoting freedom of thought, conscience and religion as well as the rights of persons belonging to minorities. In this regard, Ireland played a key role in the adoption by the European Union of guidelines on freedom of religion or belief during our Presidency in 2013.

Ireland regularly condemns any violent attacks faced by Christians, irrespective of where they occur, or who the victims are. We strive to protect and promote human rights through our work at the EU, the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly.

Addressing the high level segment of the 37th session of the Human Rights Council in February 2018, my colleague Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development Ciaran Cannon highlighted threats to freedom of religion and belief and minority religious communities worldwide, including those of Christian, Muslim and Baha’i faiths.

At the same session of the Council, Ireland participated in the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, welcoming the work he has undertaken to date and assuring him of Ireland’s continuing support for his mandate.

Ireland also uses the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a mechanism of the Human Rights Council, to remind countries under review of their obligation to advance fundamental freedoms, including the right to freedom of religion or belief, under international human rights law.