Thursday, 18 November 2021

Questions (29, 45, 47, 53)

Pádraig O'Sullivan


29. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the actions Ireland has taken at the United Nations Security Council and at the European Union to help bring an end to the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia; the funding Ireland has provided in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56297/21]

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Bríd Smith


45. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has had correspondence with the Irish Ambassador in Addis Ababa regarding the situation facing the Tigray in Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56573/21]

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Gino Kenny


47. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he plans to raise the situation in northern Ethiopia with the United Nations Security Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56565/21]

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Richard Boyd Barrett


53. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has had an engagement with either the United Nations Security Council, the European Union or the Ethiopian authorities regarding the current situation pertaining to the Tigray people; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56569/21]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 29, 45, 47 and 53 together.

I am gravely concerned by the worsening situation in Tigray and other parts of Ethiopia, including the recent escalation in military operations and declaration of a state of emergency which are magnifying the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Through our bilateral engagements, as well as within the European Union and at the UN Security Council, Ireland continues to advocate for urgent and unimpeded humanitarian access, a negotiated ceasefire, and political dialogue aimed at resolving the conflict. Accountability for violations of international law committed by all parties, including as described in the recent joint Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights/Ethiopian Human Rights Commission report, is essential.

There has been a shocking rise in hate speech, arbitrary arrests and detentions, including of UN staff, and other acts likely to fuel tensions. Human rights, democracy and fundamental freedoms are universal and inalienable values that States must uphold. No individual should be deprived of their liberty without legal authority, or without necessary procedural protections. Reason for detention must be provided promptly to those affected, as well as access to legal counsel and the right to have the lawfulness of the detention reviewed by a court. If not, those detained should be released.

It is clear there can be no military solution to this crisis. I strongly support the efforts of African Union Envoy, the former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, to mediate a way forward, supported by key regional actors.

Ireland has been to the fore of efforts to address the conflict at the Security Council. On 5 November, we secured agreement on the first Council statement in six months on the situation, which called for a cessation of hostilities and ceasefire negotiations, alongside respect of international humanitarian law, safe and unhindered humanitarian access, the re-establishment of public services, and the scaling up of humanitarian assistance.

Ireland continue to push for a strong and constructive EU response to the crisis. At the Foreign Affairs Council in October and again earlier this week, Minister Coveney emphasised the need to ensure humanitarian access, to halt the fighting, and to incentivise dialogue —including through possible use of restrictive measures if required.

As the conflict extends further throughout the country, my Department has issued a travel advisory for citizens not to travel to Ethiopia. Ireland’s Embassy in Addis Ababa is in regular ongoing contact with Ministers and officials, and continues to provide vital consular support for Irish citizens in the country.

To date, Ireland has provided over €4.4 million in humanitarian aid to Tigray and Amhara and for refugees in neighbouring Sudan. We will continue to prioritise humanitarian need while this crisis persists.

Question No. 30 answered with Question No. 22.