Foreign Affairs | Efforts being made to release global political and religious opponents from prison
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the degree to which political or religious or other opponents of various regimes globally are currently in prison illegally; if efforts continue to be made for their release; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Ireland strongly advocates for democracy, democratic values, the rule of law, civil society space and respect for human rights as key foreign policy priorities, across our bilateral, EU and multilateral engagement, including at the UN Human Rights Council and at the UN Security Council.
Ireland calls on all States to adhere to their international commitments and obligations, including for the immediate and unconditional release of all persons in arbitrary detention, including political opposition leaders. Ireland also routinely expresses concerns at the discrimination, persecution, intimidation and violence endured by religious or other minorities in various parts of the world.
Ireland has a long-term, strategic partnership with Front Line Defenders since 2001 which is supported by Irish Aid to deliver protection grants to human rights defenders to improve their security, both physical and digital, and to assist with legal fees or medical expenses.
Ireland also consistently raises the issues of Freedom of Religion or Belief, and religuous intolerance, at the UN, including through the Universal Periodic Review process, as well as through European Union Human Rights Dialogues with other countries.
At the UN Human Rights Council, Ireland has been leading a cross-regional core group on a biennial resolution on the creation and maintenance of Civil Society Space since 2013. The most recent resolution on Civil Societry Space at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council in 2021 was unanimously adopted. At the current 50th session of the Human Rights Council, Ireland continues to express our concern on human rights issues including in relation to Afghanistan, Belarus, China (Xinjiang), Ethiopia, Eritrea, Myanmar, occupied Palestinian territory, and in light of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
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