Officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade closely monitor international affairs, and situations such as the protests in Algeria, Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, Iraq and Lebanon are regularly discussed with EU counterparts, in Brussels and by Embassies in-country. Where it is necessary in order to set the strategic direction for the EU response, these issues are discussed at Ministerial level.
I am deeply concerned by recent events in Iraq and the significant numbers of fatalities. On 7 November, the HRVP issued a statement on behalf of the EU deploring the excessive use of force against protestors in recent weeks. The EU has been clear that all perpetrators of violations of the right to peaceful assembly must be held to account. The EU is ready to support the Government of Iraq in its work to address the citizen’s demands, such as an end to corruption, improved governance and job creation.
The situation in Lebanon is being carefully monitored and has been discussed among EU colleagues at official level. On 25 October, the HRVP issued a statement on behalf of the EU reiterating solidarity with Lebanon and recognising that the fight against corruption and the implementation of reform measures are of great importance. We appreciate the overall non-violent nature of the protests and that restraint has been applied by security forces.
The ongoing demonstrations in Algeria were discussed at the Foreign Affairs Council in April. The EU strongly believes that the future of Algeria is a matter to be decided by the Algerian people themselves, and we hope that an electoral process later this year will help the country move forward.
My Department has also been receiving regular updates on the situation in Chile, and that in Ecuador, from our new Embassy in Santiago, which is also accredited to Ecuador.
EU Ambassadors in Chile are in regular contact, throughout the ongoing protests and unrest. Ireland supported an EU statement on 30 October expressing concern at the recent violence, the loss of lives, the lootings and the destruction of properties that has resulted in the wake of widespread demonstrations.
In relation to Ecuador, our Ambassador travelled to Quito in September and met with EU colleagues. The Embassy in Santiago has maintained contact with EU Missions in Ecuador throughout the crisis. Demonstrations have since concluded after the President of Ecuador announced that a decision to repeal a long-standing fuel subsidy would be reversed.
Haiti is experiencing political turmoil, a worsening economic situation and violent protests. Ireland supported an EU statement recognising the need for the engagement of all actors in a frank, open and inclusive inter-Haitian dialogue to better respond to the basic needs of the population and identify realistic and lasting solutions to the current crisis. Ireland, along with our EU partners, is committed to support the Haitian people on their path to stability, development and democracy.
The EU supports the right to freedom of assembly, which can be an important means for citizens to express their political views. There is a responsibility on all concerned to ensure that protests are peaceful, and that any action required to ensure public order does not include an excessive use of force. Ultimately, it is important that citizens are facilitated to express their political views through the ballot box, at appropriate intervals.
Officials in my Department, together with colleagues at EU level, will continue to carefully monitor the situation in these countries.