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Foreign Affairs | EU and UN responses to human rights violations

To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which the international community has identified the ten most seriously affected locations worldwide at which human rights abuses continue to take place for whatever reason; the actions that have been taken or that are proposed at EU and UN level in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which he and his Department continue to monitor through the UN and EU, the various war zones across the globe in an effort to highlight the atrocities faced by women, children and vulnerable people; the extent to which the international community is making serious efforts to address the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which the United Nations and the European Union continue to strive to alleviate incidents of the violation of human rights at the various identified locations; the extent to which the perpetrators are being made conscious of the need to address these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The promotion and protection of human rights is a foreign policy priority for Ireland. As well as bilaterally through our mission network, Ireland contributes strongly to United Nations and European Union efforts to monitor and eliminate human rights violations and abuses. The rights of women, children and vulnerable persons are central to our engagement, especially in conflict zones where risks of child recruitment or trafficking in persons are particularly prevalent.

Conflict remains the most significant driver of humanitarian crises, while the number and complexity of these crises globally continues to increase. Each conflict is unique in its character, scale and complexity, and as such cannot be ranked by any single set of criteria of severity.

The particular human rights violations and abuses encountered by women and children, including sexual and gender-based violence, crosscuts all of Ireland’s engagement on both conflict and human rights. In addition to co-chairing the UN Security Council’s Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security, Ireland is an active member of the UN Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.

In the most recent sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, as well as the Third Committee session of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly which concluded on 18 November, Ireland has been active across the full range of human rights concerns. Ireland also provides assistance to those most vulnerable, including through our support to UNHCR.

At EU level, Ireland is an active participant and contributor to the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, which works globally to support the preservation of peace, the prevention of conflicts and the strengthening of international security. Human Rights issues are frequently discussed at the EU Foreign Affairs Council. Ireland strongly support the EU’s Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, which strengthens the EU’s ability to take collective action against perpetrators of human rights violations.

Accountability for human rights violations is a priority for Ireland, including for the heinous crimes of genocide and ethnic cleansing. A strong international criminal justice system is central to fighting impunity. While states bear the primary responsibility to investigate the most serious international crimes, including war crimes and genocide, Ireland regards the International Criminal Court as the cornerstone of such a system. We are a consistent and strong supporter of the Court.  

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