Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
27. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the situation in Hong Kong and plans by China to implement new security laws for Hong Kong; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10897/20]
The Government is closely monitoring the situation in Hong Kong in light of the recent announcement by the Chinese National People's Congress to implement a national security law in Hong Kong.
Ireland, along with our EU partners, is a strong supporter of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, through which the Basic Law grants Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy, along with an independent political and legal system. We have a strong interest in the continued stability and prosperity of Hong Kong under this principle, underlined by Ireland's long history of engagement and the presence of a large Irish and EU community there.
I discussed this matter with my EU counterparts at an informal EU Foreign Ministers meeting on 29 May, after which a statement was released on behalf of the EU by High Representative Borrell, which Ireland fully supports. This statement expresses our grave concern at the decision and its conformity with the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 and the Hong Kong Basic Law. An earlier statement made on 22 May, which Ireland also fully supports, called for democratic debate, consultation of key stakeholders, and respect for protected rights and freedoms in Hong Kong in relation to the proposed national security legislation.
I will continue to follow developments in Hong Kong closely as the situation evolves, through our Consulate General in Hong Kong, Embassy in Beijing, and EU partners.
I can advise that consular officials in my Department are in contact with the family regarding their urgent need to travel to the US.
The Deputy will understand that my Department cannot intervene in the immigration decisions of another jurisdiction. However, officials have advised the family as to how they might resolve their situation in cooperation with the relevant US authorities. While we understand the family has already arranged valid US ESTAs, they are also required to submit an application to US Border officials at Dublin Airport for an exemption from current travel restrictions on medical grounds. Such an application, if granted, will enable the family to travel directly to the US from Ireland. We understand that the family are due to submit this application.
Provided that an exemption to travel is granted, officials at our Consulate General in New York stand ready to provide all possible consular assistance. As the Deputy will appreciate, questions on specific medical issues would be more appropriate for the Department of Health.