Thursday, 5 December 2019

Ceisteanna (52)

Seán Crowe

Ceist:

52. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to new documents released in the media regarding the mass detention of Uighur and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang; if he has raised this issue with his Chinese counterpart; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50717/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The Government is aware of the recent reports in the media regarding the mass detention of Uighur and other ethic minorities in Xinjiang, but as a matter of practice, does not comment on leaked documents.

Nevertheless, our position on the situation in Xinjiang is clear, and 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.

On 29 October this year, Ireland was one of 23 States to sign up to a Joint Statement at the UN Third Committee in New York on this issue. 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.

In July this year, Ireland was also one of 22 States to sign up to a Joint Letter at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. 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.

This issue has been raised on multiple occasions at EU level. In April 2019, it was raised at both the EU-China Summit and EU-China Human Rights Dialogue. 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 in bilateral and multilateral contexts, at both official and political level.