Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

International Relations

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Social Democrats)
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34. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will address the arrest of two Iranian students and other Iranian dissidents and activists (details supplied); if he will condemn these arrests and call for the immediate release of political prisoners and activists; if he has engaged with the Iranian ambassador; and his views on calls for a fact-finding mission to Iran to meet with political prisoners. [11272/20]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The human rights situation in Iran remains a matter of serious concern. This includes in relation to freedom of expression and assembly, arbitrary arrest, and torture in detention. Human rights issues therefore continue to constitute an important part of Ireland's engagement and dialogue with Iran.

I am aware of the two cases raised, and note with concern that there are reports that the persons in question have been tortured. Ireland urges all States to safeguard the human rights of prisoners and detainees as set out in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the Mandela rules.

Respect for human rights is an integral part of Ireland’s foreign policy, and we consistently seek to raise our concerns on human rights issues through the most appropriate and effective channels. Our active participation at the UN Human Rights Council is very important in that regard, and Ireland has regularly raised human rights in Iran at that forum.

At the most recent Universal Periodic Review of Iran’s human rights record at the Human Rights Council in November 2019, Ireland raised concern about the continued harassment, arrest, and arbitrary detention of human rights defenders in Iran, and called on the Iranian Government to release all detainees, who have been imprisoned solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly as guaranteed under the ICCPR. Human rights concerns are also discussed in Ireland’s bilateral engagement with Iran, and I have raised the need to have an open dialogue on the subject with the Iranian Ambassador. 

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran is mandated to monitor and investigate human rights violations, and undertake country visits to Iran. It is extremely disappointing that access to Iran has not been granted to the Special Rapporteur by the Iranian authorities to date. Senior officials in my Department raised our concerns about Iran’s human rights violations directly with their counterparts in Tehran in February 2020, urging Iran to cooperate with the UN Special Rapporteur, and allow him access into the country. 

The EU consistently pursues human rights issues with Iran, including the right to due process for all, as part of our overall engagement with Iran. Since 2011, the EU has also had in place restrictive measures related to violations of human rights, which both list individuals and entities responsible for grave human rights violations, including many responsible for violations of rights of detainees; and ban the export to Iran of equipment which might be used for internal repression and of equipment for monitoring telecommunications.

Ireland and the EU will continue to monitor developments in Iran, and to call on the Iranian Government to make progress in relation to human rights, both in direct contacts with Iranian officials, and at international level, including at the Human Rights Council, whenever opportunities arise.


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