Written answers

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Departmental Communications

Photo of Catherine ConnollyCatherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent)
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60. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the engagement he has had with his counterparts at European Union level regarding the continuation of the EU-Israel Association Agreement particularly in view of Israel’s ongoing treatment of the Palestinian people and its human rights obligations under Article 2 of the Association Agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56538/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory remains a matter of serious concern.

The protection and promotion of 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.

It is also an integral part of the EU’s external actions and is clearly reflected Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement which states that respect for human rights and democratic principles are an essential element of the Agreement.

The Association Agreement provides a framework in which the EU can raise concerns on human rights among other issues. I have been clear with my EU Foreign Minister colleagues that we should use all such opportunities to ensure our concerns are registered. The suspension of the Association Agreement would shut down a key avenue for EU influence and engagement and furthermore would not have the support of EU Member States.

We will continue to speak out against actions which are in breach of international law. Ireland conveys our concerns on human rights issues to the Israeli authorities, both directly, which I did during my recent visit to the region, through the EU and at the UN.

Ireland engages in interactive dialogues with the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory at the UN General Assembly. In the most recent debate on 25 October we expressed concern at the lack of accountability for possible violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Ireland also called on Israel to conduct investigations including for incidents of possible excessive use of force by the Israeli Security Forces.

Ireland also provides financial support to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs working on human rights issues.

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