Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
109. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab continue to be contained or restricted by the international community; the extent to which their influence and activity are controlled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53812/19]
Ireland condemns the reprehensible violence and terror inflicted by Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab. In its engagement across the relevant regions, Ireland places a strong emphasis on tackling poverty, hunger and exclusion that contribute to fostering violence, radicalisation and terrorism.
At a bilateral level the Government continues to work to promote and sustain peace in West Africa and the Horn of Africa, including through the Embassies of Ireland in Nairobi and Abuja. Since 2016 Ireland has provided approximately €17 million in humanitarian funding to states in the Lake Chad region. In November, the Embassy in Abuja participated in the Inaugural Steering Committee Meeting of the Lake Chad Basin Regional Stabilisation Strategy. The Lake Chad Basin Commission (LBC) and the African Union (AU) Commission with the support of the UNDP, have developed this Regional Strategy for the Stabilisation, Recovery and Resilience of the Boko Haram-affected areas of the Lake Chad Basin.
Ireland has also been a consistent supporter of the humanitarian response in Somalia, providing over €45 million in humanitarian assistance since 2012, including to communities displaced by conflict in Al-Shabaab held areas. Ireland also supports EU initiatives to promote peace and security in East Africa including through capacity-building programmes that ensure that local security forces are better resourced to tackle terrorism. The EU also maintains three Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions in the region; EUTM Somalia, EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta and EUCAP Somalia. Chris Reynolds, the former Director of the Irish Coast Guard, was appointed to lead EUCAP Somalia in September and there are four other Irish nationals deployed to EUCAP. The EU is one of the key financial contributors to the UN-mandated African Union-led peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) which supports the Federal Government of Somalia in its efforts to combat Al-Shabaab and stabilise the country. The EU has also pledged €50 million in funding to the Multinational Joint Taskforce to improve security in West African territories affected by Boko Haram.
110. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the international community is engaged in restoring peace in Libya; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53813/19]
I am deeply troubled by the ongoing violence in Libya, particularly the fighting around Tripoli, which is endangering thousands of civilians and putting already vulnerable migrants and refugees in Libya at further risk. There have been reports of serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law. The EU has called on all parties to immediately implement a ceasefire and to engage with the UN to ensure a political solution to the conflict.
At the Foreign Affairs Council on 9 December, Ministers discussed the upcoming international summit in Berlin, which is part of UN Special Representative Ghassan Salamé’s roadmap for peace in Libya. I believe that Germany is playing a valuable role on this issue, and hope that this summit will pave the way towards a comprehensive and lasting cessation of hostilities.
I am particularly concerned about the effect of the instability in Libya on migrants and refugees in Libya. Human rights abuses against migrants and refugees in Libya, including in detention centres, are a matter of grave concern. During a national statement during the UN Human Rights Council in September 2019, Ireland noted that the system of detaining migrants and refugees in Libya, often in appalling conditions, is reprehensible. I applaud efforts by humanitarian organisations to relocate migrants and refugees for their safety, to the extent possible, in this very difficult situation.
The EU, through cooperation with the UN and the African Union, has helped over 48,000 people stranded in Libya to return voluntarily to their countries of origin, and has evacuated over 4,000 people in need of international protection. The EU has also mobilised €46 million in humanitarian support for people in need in Libya since 2014. Almost €328 million has been mobilised under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa for protecting migrants, refugees and internally displaced people in Libya, and supporting local communities to cope with the migration challenge.
Ultimately, bringing real improvements to the lives of Libyans, and migrants and refugees in Libya, will require the restoration of political stability. Ireland and the EU will continue to support efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict and build a better future for the Libyan people.