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Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (346, 347, 348, 349, 350, 351, 352, 353, 354)

Carol Nolan

Question:

346. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 71 of 2 December 2021, if his attention has been drawn to a series of matters (details supplied) in relation to the policy of the handing of names of human rights activists to the Chinese government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61324/21]

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Carol Nolan

Question:

347. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 71 of 2 December 2021, if he can provide evidence to support his response that the policy changed in 2015; if he or his Department ever requested evidence from UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in relation to whether there has been a change in policy in view of the contradictory public positions and documented instances of diplomats being told untruths in relation to this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61325/21]

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Carol Nolan

Question:

348. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 71 of 2 December 2021, if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the United Nations found a person guilty of misconduct for unauthorized communications with external parties in relation to issues concerning the official activities of the United Nations which communications consisted entirely of reporting this policy to member states; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61326/21]

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Carol Nolan

Question:

349. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 71 of 2 December 2021, his views on the opinion expressed by the United Nations that a person committed misconduct by reporting this policy and should have remained silent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61327/21]

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Carol Nolan

Question:

350. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 71 of 2 December 2021, if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a person revealed the identity of the whistle-blower directly to the Chief of the Human Rights Council Branch of UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2016; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that the whistle-blower reported a significant increase in the retaliation against them following that event; if it is the policy of the Government to reveal the identity of United Nations whistle-blowers to the very person they accuse of misconduct; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61328/21]

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Carol Nolan

Question:

351. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 71 of 2 December 2021, if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a person requested that the Government send an observer to their court hearings in June 2019, at which the United Nations position is that this policy continues; the basis for refusing that request; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61329/21]

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Carol Nolan

Question:

352. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 71 of 2 December 2021, the actions that were taken by his Department or by the Government after being informed by a person of the intention by management at the United Nations to dismiss them despite being formally recognised as a whistle-blower who was at risk of retaliatory dismissal since July 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61330/21]

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Carol Nolan

Question:

353. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 71 of 2 December 2021, if his attention has been drawn to the fact that in 2021 alone the Government donated almost €3 million to UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in voluntary contributions on top of its assessed contributions; the amount that is not earmarked; the measures his Department takes to ensure none of the funding is used for the purpose of retaliatory investigations against whistle-blowers or for defending this policy before United Nations tribunals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61331/21]

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Carol Nolan

Question:

354. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 71 of 2 December 2021, if he will request an independent, external investigation of this policy and of the retaliation against the whistle-blower who reported same; if will meet with the person as they have requested; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61332/21]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 346 to 354, inclusive, together.

My Department is aware of the issues raised by the individual concerned. The former Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva met with the individual concerned on 2nd March 2016. The current Ambassador met with the individual concerned on 29 July 2019 and again on 16 September 2021. In the intervening periods the Department has also communicated with the individual concerned by email and telephone.

Ireland has raised the issue of the release of the names of NGO delegates to UN Member States and received assurances directly from the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) that, while there had been a historical practice whereby the names of participants were occasionally confirmed to States in limited circumstances, this practice has since ceased.

Ireland provides un-earmarked funding to the OHCHR for its core development-related work. €1.865 million of un-earmarked funding was provided each year for 2019 and 2020, rising to €1.965 million in 2021. An additional earmarked grant of €300,000 was provided to the OHCHR this year to specifically support work on civil society space and reprisals against human rights defenders.

This support is part of Ireland's strong advocacy and leadership at the UN and globally on the protection of civil society space and the prevention of reprisals against Human Rights Defenders which engage with Human Rights bodies at the UN. In 2013, Ireland led a new resolution at the Human Rights Council entitled “Civil society space: creating and maintaining, in law and in practice a safe and enabling environment”. This resolution addressed the issue of civil society space as a human rights concern for the first time at the Human Rights Council. Ireland continues to lead on the renewal of this resolution, most recently in July 2021. In September 2021, Ireland led a successful resolution at the Human Rights Council condemning acts of intimidation or reprisals against Human Rights Defenders engaging with the United Nations.

In common with other European Union Member States, Ireland has raised our concerns with China regarding the situation in Xinjiang on a number of occasions, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora. Most recently, at the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Ireland joined an EU Group Statement of 26 Member States, which called on China to comply with its obligations under national, and international law to respect and protect human rights, including in Xinjiang. On 21 October, Ireland joined a cross-regional statement on Human Rights in China at the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, which calls on China to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers, including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

We have also raised our concerns bilaterally with the Chinese authorities at senior official level and I discussed the issue with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during our meeting on 30 May. In that discussion, I outlined Ireland and the EU's position on the treatment of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. I emphasised the importance of allowing unrestricted access to the region to independent observers in order to make an objective assessment of the situation, particularly through the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Question No. 347 answered with Question No. 346.
Question No. 348 answered with Question No. 346.
Question No. 349 answered with Question No. 346.
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