Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (433)

Bernard Durkan


433. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which he and his EU colleagues continue to monitor worldwide locations of concern in which war, starvation, ethnic cleansing, genocide and human rights abuse against men, women and children are obvious; if specific action is ongoing to address these issues; the success of the international efforts to date in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38707/20]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Ireland works with our EU partners to provide needs-based humanitarian assistance to the people affected by man-made and natural disasters, with particular attention to the most vulnerable victims. Aid is channelled impartially to the affected populations, regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation.

The European Commission’s Directorate for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations has worked with a humanitarian operations budget of €1.95 billion in 2020. The EU – its Member States and EU institutions collectively – is among the leading donors of humanitarian aid in the world. In addition, Ireland has separately provided approximately €180 million in humanitarian aid in each of the past three years to address many global crisis situations.

Protecting and promoting human rights is a priority of Ireland’s foreign policy. With our EU partners, Ireland closely monitors the human rights situations in many countries, where increased human rights violations are often a first step on a trajectory towards conflict. Ireland supports the use of multilateral human rights fora in responding to human rights violations including in the EU, UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe.

Through the EU, Ireland contributes to the global response to situations which push people into forced displacement and irregular migration. For example, 70% of the €4.8 billion committed through the EU Trust Fund for Africa is being used to address the root causes of forced displacement and irregular migration.

Through our participation in international bodies, as well as direct support for human rights and the provision of humanitarian and development assistance, Ireland is making strong efforts to address the needs highlighted in a principled and consistent manner. With regard to the conflict in Ethiopia, Minister Coveney has urged all parties to cease hostilities, de-escalate tensions, demonstrate restraint and work for reconciliation, and has also condemned atrocities and targeting of ethnic groups. Most recently, on 19 November, Minister Coveney intervened at the EU Foreign Affairs Council regarding the outbreak of conflict in Ethiopia and stressed the need to act fast and collectively to call for unconditional, unrestricted access for humanitarian actors to affected areas.