Thursday, 28 November 2019

Ceisteanna (69, 72)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

69. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on reports that over 1 million persons are being detained in camps in Xinjiang province in China; his plans to raise the matter with Chinese officials here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49581/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

72. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on a recent report (details supplied) into appalling conditions in a huge network of concentration camps in which over 1 million Uighur people are imprisoned in Xingiang by the Chinese Government; the steps he will take including with his EU colleagues to sanction the leadership of China and demand the immediate closure of the camps and freedom for those imprisoned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49613/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 69 and 72 together.

The Government, as a matter of practice, does not comment on leaked documents.

However, we remain deeply concerned over the credible reports of the treatment of ethnic Uighurs and other minorities in the Xinjiang region. We, along with our EU partners, take these reports very seriously and have raised our concerns at official and political level with our Chinese counterparts on a consistent basis. 

Most recently, Ireland was one of 23 States to sign up to a Joint Statement at the UN Third Committee on 29 October 2019. This statement called for the Chinese Government to urgently implement eight recommendations made by the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination related to Xinjiang, including by refraining from the arbitrary detention of Uighurs and members of other Muslim communities.

Ireland was also one of 22 States to sign up to a Joint Letter at the Human Rights Council in Geneva in July this year. This letter expressed concerns about credible reports of arbitrary detention in large-scale places of detention, as well as widespread surveillance and restrictions, particularly targeting Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. It called on China to uphold its national laws and international obligations and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Xinjiang.

At EU level, this issue was raised at both the EU-China Summit and EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in April this year. During the dialogue the EU noted that while actions to counter terrorism are essential, these actions must respect the principle of proportionality, fundamental freedoms, and international laws. The EU has also raised this issue at multilateral level, calling on China to allow meaningful, unrestricted, and unsupervised access to Xinjiang for independent observers, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. 

Ireland, along with our EU partners, will continue to raise our concerns during contacts with Chinese authorities at both official and political level.