Written answers

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Anti-Racism Measures

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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84. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the rise of anti-Semitism in some European countries; and if the matter was discussed when he met other EU counterparts recently. [9376/19]

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick County, Fianna Fail)
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101. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps taken at EU and international level to address the rise in anti-Semitic attacks worldwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9461/19]

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick County, Fianna Fail)
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102. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the rise of anti-Semitism in certain European Union member states has been addressed or discussed at the EU Foreign Affairs Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9462/19]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 84, 101 and 102 together.

Ireland strongly condemns all manifestations of racism, xenophobia, and related intolerance, including anti-Semitism. We attach great importance to combating all forms of persecution and discrimination based on race, religion or belief, and incitement to racism and religious hatred. Ireland is strongly committed to the promotion and protection of tolerance, non-discrimination, freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief. This commitment is reaffirmed in the Global Island: Ireland’s Foreign Policy for a Changing World and more recently in the Programme for Partnership Government.

Through our multilateral engagement, Ireland consistently raises the issues of racism and intolerance and advocates for inclusive societies at the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC) through the Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism and at the European Union.

Ireland also participated in the "United Nations General Assembly Session on Anti-Semitism" in 2015, making a national statement which emphasised the importance of combating all forms of persecution based on race, religion and belief, and incitement to racism and religious hatred. More recently, in 2018, at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, I joined other representatives from other countries in saying "No2antisemitism".

During our Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2013, Ireland played a key role in the development and adoption of the EU Guidelines on Freedom of Religion or Belief. These Guidelines provide a framework for the promotion of freedom of religion and belief in the EU’s external human rights policy. Additionally, in 2015 Ireland pressed for the inclusion of a reference to the promotion of freedom of religion or belief in the EU Action Plan for Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019. This has ensured the EU’s continuing engagement on this issue.

Twenty-five EU Member States are among the 32 members of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which Ireland joined in 2011.IHRAunites governments and experts to strengthen, advance, and promote Holocaust education, remembrance, and research worldwide and to uphold the commitments of the 2000 Stockholm Declaration. Member countriesrecognise that international political coordination is imperative to strengthen the moral commitment of societies and to combat growing Holocaust denial and antisemitism. I also attended and participated in the National Holocaust Memorial Day in Dublin on 27thJanuary this year, during which I read aloud an excerpt from the Stockholm Declaration.

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