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Middle East

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 9 November 2021

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Questions (375)

Mairéad Farrell


375. Deputy Mairéad Farrell asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if in view of the declaration by Israel that six Palestinian civil society organisations in the Occupied Palestinian territory are terrorist organisations, his views on whether the root cause of this problem is an illegal occupation which has little regard for the human rights of Palestinians and that it is now time to take more concrete action to have this attack on human rights defenders stopped immediately; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54218/21]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I made a statement on 27 October expressing my concern at these designations. We were not informed in advance of these designations, and have not received detailed substantive evidence.

Our partners in the EU are also aware of this matter, and have been in touch with Israeli authorities to seek further clarification.

I raised this matter directly in my meetings in Israel during my visit to the region last week. I stressed that civil society organisations and human rights defenders play a critical role in promoting international law, peace, human rights and democratic values. These designations have the potential to impact, not only these six organisations, but civil society more broadly across the oPt and to seriously undermine vital humanitarian, development and human rights work.

Ireland will continue to support the work of NGOs and Human Rights Defenders bilaterally and at EU and UN level. On 25 October, Ireland made a statement at the General Assembly during the Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, expressing appreciation for the critical role of human rights defenders and stressing the importance of protecting civil society space and a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders.

I have been consistently clear about the need to address the root causes of tensions in the occupied Palestinian territory. At an informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers on 27 May, I called on EU colleagues to address such root causes, including settlement expansion, in a more robust way. I raised similar points at the Security Council on 16 May and the Foreign Affairs Council on 21 June. I underlined the need for root causes to be addressed with the Israeli Foreign Minister during my visit to the region on 3 November.

It is vital that the international community does all it can to seek to address the root causes of tensions in this region.