To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the action he and his department has taken in the case of a person (details supplied) who has been sentenced to death due to their Baha'i faith in Yemen; if this matter has been raised with the European Union external action service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. - Brendan Howlin.
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 23rd January, 2018. Ref No: 2906/18
Question No.151 Parliamentary Question - Oireachtas To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied); the efforts being made at EU and international level to address this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. - Darragh O'Brien. * For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 23rd January, 2018. Ref No: 2917/18
REPLY I propose to take questions 150 and 151 together. I am aware of the case to which you refer, which is a cause for concern, in particular as the individual appears to have been sentenced on the basis of his religious beliefs. Ireland strongly condemns all forms of persecution on the basis of religion or belief, and attaches great importance to combating all forms of discrimination based on religion or belief and incitement to religious hatred. Ireland consistently raises the issues of racism and intolerance and advocates for inclusive societies at the UN Human Rights Council, as well as at the Council of Europe and the OSCE. Furthermore, Ireland is unequivocal in its stance on the death penalty. We oppose and condemn its use in all circumstances, and in particular in cases where there are allegations of unfair trials preceding its implementation. The abolition of the death penalty is one of Ireland’s international priorities, and my Department regularly conveys our stance on this issue to all countries where the death penalty is still in use. The conflict in Yemen, now in its third year, has led to grave concerns about human rights and Ireland has worked in the UN system to address these. At the Human Rights Council in September 2017, Ireland joined the small core group of countries that drove forward the adoption of a Resolution on Yemen, which established a group of international experts to investigate the facts in relation to violations of human rights and humanitarian law on the ground. This group will report back to the Human Rights Council, as an important step towards accountability in Yemen. Among other pressing issues, this resolution expressed concern at the severe restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in Yemen, including for members of the Baha’i faith. Ireland calls on all parties to immediately release all Baha’i detained in Yemen due to their religious belief, to cease the issuance of arrest warrants against them and to cease the harassment to which they are subjected. Officials from this Department also remain in contact with representatives of the Baha’i community in Ireland, with whom they have discussed the situation in Yemen, and will continue to monitor the situation closely. My Department necessarily prioritises its efforts to promote improvements in the general human rights situation, as it does not have the capacity to actively pursue at EU and international level all of the individual cases that arise. Accordingly, my Department will continue to monitor the human rights situation in Yemen, as well as the issues of freedom of religion and the death penalty, and will take every appropriate opportunity to advocate for them. Finally, a real improvement in the human rights situation in Yemen will require an end to conflict. I would like to assure the Deputy that Ireland will continue to support all efforts towards a negotiated settlement to the conflict in that country.