Written answers

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Foreign Policy

Photo of Neale RichmondNeale Richmond (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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81. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the discussions that have been had at European Council level on the ongoing security crisis in Hong Kong; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37672/20]

Photo of Joe O'BrienJoe O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Green Party)
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89. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the detainment of a group of 12 activists aged between 16 and 30 years of age from Hong Kong by the People’s Republic of China; if he has raised this issue with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37318/20]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 81 and 89 together.

I am aware of the concerning situation in Hong Kong, including the detaining of a number of activists following the adoption of national security legislation in the region. I made a statement on 1 July to express Ireland's concern in relation to the adoption of this law, and the situation has been raised directly with the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland.

The EU has made a number of statements in relation to this situation, most recently on 12 November following the disqualification of members of the Hong Kong Legislative Council. This statement reiterated our concern regarding Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy under the One Country, Two Systems principle, and the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.

In addition to this, the Council of the EU adopted Conclusions on Hong Kong on 28 July 2020 in response to the adoption of the National Security Law. These set out a coordinated package of response measures in various fields, including the operation of Member States' extradition agreements and other relevant agreements with Hong Kong. In line with these Conclusions, the Government agreed on 13 October to suspend Ireland's Extradition Agreement with Hong Kong.

This decision, which was taken in concert with a number of other EU Member States, clearly signals Ireland's concerns in relation to the rule of law in Hong Kong and the erosion of judicial independence promised under the One Country, Two Systems principle.

My Department, through our Consulate General in Hong Kong and our Embassy in Beijing, will remain alert to the situation in Hong Kong and, along with our EU partners, will continue to raise our concerns with Chinese authorities.

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