I propose to take Questions Nos. 62, 65 and 66 together.
I also propose to make a statement on the matter. The Government follows closely reports of human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners, including reported cases of organ harvesting, and is concerned about the situation. Human rights issues, including the treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, are issues discussed regularly with the Chinese authorities during both bilateral and multilateral meetings.
Through the formal framework of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, which was established in 1995, the EU continues to share with China its experience in the field of human rights protection and promotion, and to urge China to take clear steps to improve the human rights situation. The latest session of this dialogue took place on 25 June 2013 and provided the EU with the opportunity to express its concerns about a wide range of human rights issues in China, including the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities, deprivation of liberty, and criminal and administrative punishment. At this meeting, the EU also enquired about measures taken so far by China to ratify the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, signed in 1998 in view of China’s undertaking made during the 2009 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to ratify the Covenant at an early date.
In February 2013, officials from my Department met with representatives of the Irish Falun Dafa Association. During this meeting the Irish Falun Dafa Association discussed the issue of organ harvesting and ways in which human rights issues are raised with Chinese authorities by both Ireland and the EU. Officials in my Department are meeting again this week with the Falun Dafa Association regarding the issue of organ harvesting.
In relation to measures taken to ensure no Irish company, organisation or individual becomes involved in the mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners, a Common Position adopted by the European Council in 2008 outlines that Member States shall deny an export licence if there is a clear risk that military technology or equipment to be exported might be used for internal repression. Ireland, together with our EU partners, will continue to address human rights issues with China, including those related to the Falun Gong, in frequent and regular dialogue, through our contacts in both Dublin and Beijing and through the relevant multilateral channels, including at the next United Nations Universal Periodic Review of human rights in China, scheduled for October 2013.