Tuesday, 23 October 2007
Human Rights Issues.
Dermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs; Louth, Fianna Fail)
Regarding China's response, because the local NGO group was refused access to deliver a letter to the Chinese Embassy, I took it upon myself to write to the Chinese Foreign Minister. I asked my officials to intervene with the Chinese Embassy in Dublin and the Indian Embassy at the beginning of the protest. The response from China was favourable. It surprised the international community that China was prepared to accept strong statements of condemnation of events in Burma at the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council.
Regarding the disappearances, Ireland is part of the international consensus call for the facilitation of access by the International Red Cross to examine disappearance and detention.
I referred earlier to Irish people. There were five Irish citizens in Burma. Three were tourists, while two were residents in Burma. We are happy that all five are safe. Those who visited as tourists returned home and the two who remained, one of whom was a Buddhist nun, are safe. From a national point of view, we have established that our people are safe through our colleagues in the EU.