Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
50. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the details of the proposed new legislation to create a EU human rights sanction regime that were discussed at the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 9 December 2019 will be provided; the way in which the new legislation will operate; his views on the legislation; and the timeline for the legislation to be completed. [53315/19]
At our meeting on 9 December, EU Foreign Ministers discussed the proposal, first introduced by the Netherlands in 2018, to establish an EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime. Over the last year, the proposal has been discussed at working level in the EU. These discussions have focused on the intended objective and scope of the proposed regime, and how to ensure its compatibility with existing, geographically based, sanctions regimes.
At our meeting on 9 December, Foreign Ministers concluded that there is now sufficient support for the initiative to move forward. The High Rrepresentative and VP, Josep Borrell, will task the EU External Action Service (EEAS) to produce a non-paper to commence the process.
I intervened in the discussion to support the establishment of a new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime. I believe it will be an important addition to the EU's human rights toolbox. Ireland will be engaging actively in the discussions at EU level in the coming months which we hope will result in the formal establishment of the new regime and we look forward to receiving the EEAS non-paper.
A key goal should be to deter and prevent human rights abuses from taking place. We will also want to ensure that the regime is fully compatable with, and complementary to, existing geographic sanction regimes.