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Foreign Affairs | Combating human rights abuses with foreign aid

To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the most prominent locations worldwide to which international aid continues to be made available by Ireland and other countries in an effort to combat levels of human rights abuse; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations’ core Human Rights Treaties set the framework for Ireland’s foreign policy and our international aid programme. A Better World, Ireland’s international development policy, focuses Irish Aid’s work on the advancement of universal access to human rights; including the right to adequate standards of living, the right to healthcare, education, freedom from hunger, and civil and political freedoms.

Irish Aid helps to combat human rights abuses, and assist vulnerable communities to realise their rights by: Providing access to education, health services, housing and better governance; strengthening developing country institutions, government systems, parliaments, national human rights institutions, and independent media; addressing gender based violence; supporting civil society partners and promoting civil society space; and supporting the protection of human rights defenders.

Among the geographic areas of focus for our aid programme this year have been Ukraine, the Horn of Africa, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, as well as countries in the Sahel; all of which are characterised by serious violations of human rights. The 2022 allocation of Official Development Assistance is the highest ever, at €1 billion – a 20% increase on last year. This allows Ireland to maintain its longstanding focus on promoting the rights of people furthest behind, such as those affected by food insecurity and conflict. This year, given the pressure on global food systems resulting from the war in Ukraine, at least €193 million in Irish Aid funding will go to improving food security and fulfilling the right to freedom from hunger.

Ireland’s ODA is delivered through multilateral organisations such as the UN, funding to Irish civil society organisations, as well as bilateral ODA spent through Irish Embassies abroad. Our funding is complemented by Ireland’s political and diplomatic engagement, including on the UN Security Council, and Human Rights Council. Human rights promotion is at the centre of our international diplomacy efforts at the UN, EU and other bodies; and our principled approach in all fora ensures coherence between Ireland’s advocacy and the careful investment of the ODA budget.


Foreign Affairs

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