Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Ceisteanna (149)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

149. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the efforts being made at EU and international levels to protect a community (details supplied) in Yemen from persecution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5320/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The on-going persecution of the Baha'i community in Yemen is extremely worrying. There are recent reports of detention and harassment of members of the Baha'i community, in particular by the Houthi de facto government, which controls the territory where the majority of the Yemeni population live.

Ireland strongly condemns all forms of persecution on the basis of religion or belief, irrespective of where they occur or who the victims are. The promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief is and will continue to be a priority for Ireland’s engagement on human rights issues. Ireland calls on all parties in Yemen to release all Baha’i detained due to their religious belief, and to cease the harassment to which they are subjected.

Ireland’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia is also accredited to Yemen and has contacts with the internationally recognised Government of Yemen. However, the Government does not have any contact with the Houthi de facto authorities, against whom multiple accusations have been made of the persecution of the Baha’i community. We have therefore focused our efforts on highlighting this issue in multilateral fora.

Ireland has regularly addressed the persecution of the Baha’i at the Human Rights Council and the United Nations General Assembly. Most recently, at the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of Yemen's human rights record on 23 January 2019, Ireland expressed concern at the reports of harassment and detention of members of the Baha'i community in Yemen and reiterated that Ireland strongly condemns all forms of persecution on the basis of religion or belief. Ireland also raised concerns with regard to the persecution of the Baha'i at the 37th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2018, during the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom on Religion and Belief.

My Department will continue to monitor the situation and voice our concerns about the treatment of the Baha'i community in Yemen, whenever opportunities arise.