Thursday, 24 June 2021

Ceisteanna (156)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

156. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has spoken with officials from China regarding the treatment of the Uyghur people; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33906/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Ireland, along with our EU partners, remains deeply concerned about the treatment of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in the province of Xinjiang, including in relation to reports of systemic abuse, torture, arbitrary detention, forced labour, forced sterilisations, and restrictions on freedom of religion and belief. 

I raised our concerns regarding this situation with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during our meeting on 30 May. In that discussion, I outlined Ireland and the EU's position on the treatment of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. I emphasised the importance of allowing unrestricted access to the region to independent observers in order to make an objective assessment of the situation, particularly through the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Ireland has raised concerns regarding the situation in Xinjiang in multilateral fora on a number of occasions. Most recently, this week we supported a Joint Statement at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, expressing our concern at the human rights situation in Xinjiang, and calling on China to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers, including the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Ireland also raised this issue in our National Statement at the UN Human Rights Council in March this year, and supported a Joint Statement on the issue at the UN Third Committee on 6 October 2020.

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