Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (122, 123, 124)

Brendan Smith

Question:

122. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has recently raised concerns regarding the persecution of a group (details supplied) with the Chinese authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32721/19]

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Brendan Smith

Question:

123. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps being taken at national and EU level to safeguard a group (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32722/19]

View answer

Brendan Smith

Question:

124. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the practice of organ harvesting from a group (details supplied); the actions he has taken to address the practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32723/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 122 to 124, inclusive, together.

The Government closely follows reports of persecution against Falun Gong practitioners, as well as the reports of organ harvesting. Since 2013, officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have met with representatives of the Irish Falun Dafa Association and human rights lawyers on a regular basis, most recently in June 2019.

Human rights concerns are discussed regularly with the Chinese authorities in bilateral meetings and raised in the appropriate multilateral fora, including rights related to freedom of religion or belief. The issue of Human rights was raised by the Tánaiste during his visit to China in March 2018 where he met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and during the visit of the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Chao, to Dublin in November 2018. Ireland also urged China to respect freedom of religion and belief in our intervention during the Universal Period Review of China in November 2018. As the Deputy will be aware, the Chinese Government denies accusations of human rights abuses against those who practice Falun Gong.

The EU-China Human Rights Dialogue is the primary formal framework through which Ireland and other EU member states share with China our experience in the field of human rights protection and promotion, and to urge China to take clear steps to improve the human rights situation. The latest session of this dialogue took place on 1-2 April 2019, and provided the EU with the opportunity to have a detailed exchange of views on a wide range of human rights issues with China. The EU raised a number of issues relating to freedom of religion and belief, as well as the rights of persons belonging to minorities, freedom of expression and association, arbitrary detention, and the death penalty.

New laws on organ donation came into force in China at the beginning of 2015 with a view to ending the practice of forced organ transplants, including from prisoners. The Embassy of Ireland in Beijing, in cooperation with our EU partners, continues to monitor the implementation of this legislation.

The Irish Government, together with our EU partners, will continue to address human rights issues with China, in frequent and regular dialogue, through our contacts in both Dublin and Beijing, and through the relevant multilateral channels.