Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Ceisteanna (462, 476)

Neale Richmond

Ceist:

462. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has engaged with the Chinese authorities regarding events in Hong Kong; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15100/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

476. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has expressed to the Chinese Government his concern regarding the situation in Hong Kong, the new national security law and its implications for human rights; and if he has expressed his concern with the Chinese Government at the treatment of the Uighur minority in China and human rights breaches against them. [15358/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 462 and 476 together.

The Government is closely monitoring the situation in Hong Kong, following the adoption of a national security law on the 30 June by the Chinese National People's Congress.

I made a statement on the 1 July to express my concern at the adoption of this law and reiterated Ireland's full support for fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong, such as freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly. I also discussed the issue with the Chinese Ambassador.

The EU also issued a statement on this matter on the 1 July, which highlighted the EU's strong stake in the continued stability and prosperity of Hong Kong, and outlined our concerns regarding the conformity of this law with China's international commitments. The matter was also raised by the EU during the EU-China Summit on 22 June, and in a statement by the EU at UN Human Rights Council on 1 July.

The situation in Xinjiang is different to that in Hong Kong and both should be considered in their own right. Ireland and our EU partners remain deeply concerned about the credible reports of the treatment of ethnic Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, including arbitrary detentions, widespread surveillance, restrictions on freedom of religious belief, and recent media reports of forced sterilisation in the region. We have raised our concerns with China in both bilateral and multilateral contexts, and, along with other EU partners, we will continue to do so.

Ireland joined a Joint Statement at the UN Third Committee in October 2019, and a Joint Letter at the UN Human Rights Council in July 2019, which outlined our concerns in the Xinjiang. The matter was also raised at EU level during the recent EU-China Summit, and in the EU statement at the UN Human Rights Council.

Additionally, on 30 June 2020 Ireland was one of 27 States to sign up to a Joint Statement at the UN Human Rights Council which reiterates our concerns in both Xinjiang and Hong Kong. The Joint Statement urges China to allow the High Commissioner for Human Rights meaningful access to Xinjiang at the earliest opportunity, and called on China to reconsider the introduction of the national security law in Hong Kong.

The protection and promotion of human rights is a core pillar of Ireland's foreign policy, and we will continue to monitor and assess these situations, and raise our concerns with the Chinese authorities bilaterally and in multilateral fora.