Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (420)

John Brady

Question:

420. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the progress his Department has made towards the release of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38584/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Department of Foreign Affairs has been monitoring this case concerning the detention of a human rights defender in India under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Our Embassy in New Delhi has been engaged with the EU Delegation and other EU Embassies on this matter. The EU Delegation has contacted the National Human Rights Commission of India to enquire about the conditions of the detention of this human rights defender, and raised the possibility of his release on humanitarian grounds given his age and the risks posed by COVID-19 in prison. Regrettably, an application for bail on health grounds was rejected by a court on 23 October based on the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The promotion of human rights, including the protection of human rights defenders, is a priority of Ireland’s foreign policy. We expect the authorities in India to have due regard for his well-being during his detention, in particular his personal requirements arising from his advanced years and ill-health. We also expect that the Indian authorities will fully respect the rule of law in this case, including the presumption of innocence. The Embassy will continue to monitor developments in this case in close liaison with the EU Delegation and other EU Embassies.