Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (137)

Niall Collins

Question:

137. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has formally raised with the Brunei authorities his concerns and the opposition of Ireland to the new laws being implemented targeting the LGBT community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16140/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Ireland adds our voice to that of the EU in expressing our deep concern at the recent implementation of certain measures under the Penal Code of Brunei-Darussalam, including the imposition of the death penalty against those engaging in consensual same-sex sexual activity.

Some of the punishments foreseen in the criminal code amount to torture, acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment which are prohibited by the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, signed by Brunei-Darussalam in 2015. As well as going against the 2012 ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, these punishments may also breach Brunei's obligations as a party to the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

In relation to the provisions referred to by the Deputy, Ireland is committed to promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI+) individuals, who continue to suffer disproportionate levels of violence and face systemic discrimination in many countries. In both our bilateral and multilateral engagement on human rights, we focus on ensuring individuals’ human rights and non-discrimination, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Irish Consulates and Embassies overseas cooperate closely with EU delegations and Embassies of the other EU Member States to advocate for the rights of LGBTI+ persons, including advocating for the decriminalisation of homosexuality where it exists and against its criminalisation where this is contemplated. Our diplomatic network also actively supports LGBTI+ rights by participating in Gay Pride parades and similar events across the world and offering support to LGBTI+ civil society organisations.

Ireland also raises the rights of LGBTI+ individuals at international level through our work at the United Nations and the European Union as well as our engagement in regional organisations such as the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

Additionally, Ireland reaffirms its strong and unequivocal opposition to capital punishment in all circumstances and for all cases. Ireland expects Brunei-Darussalam to maintain its de facto moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

At the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva we will take the opportunity of the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of Brunei-Darussalam next month to call on the Government to abide by its international and regional human rights commitments and obligations.