Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Questions (112)

John Lahart

Question:

112. Deputy John Lahart asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to an organisation (details supplied) that encourages action in countries that persecute Christians and other religious minorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51685/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I am aware of the organisation to which the Deputy refers. In February 2018, it sent a report to my Department entitled “Official India: On the Side of the Militants”. Officials from my Department have met with representatives of the organisation to discuss the report.

Under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Freedom of religious expression is a cornerstone of any functioning democracy and those rights must be guaranteed. Acts of violence and discrimination based on religion or belief, committed in the name of religion or national security, whether by individuals, by groups or by states, must be challenged.

The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Ireland’s foreign policy. Ireland works closely with human rights defenders to protect them and the work they do and to promote the value of civil society space.

I very strongly condemn any violent attacks faced by Christians wherever they may be and all forms of persecution on the basis of religion and belief, irrespective of where it occurs or who the victims are.