Written answers

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Human Rights

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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366. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if Ireland will use all available diplomatic channels to secure the immediate release of a political prisoner (details supplied) imprisoned for over two years in Belarus and for an end to the persecution of and release of opposition political activists in Belarus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62924/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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There are now over 900 political prisoners in Belarus, according to the Belarusian human rights organisation, Viasna. They have been detained for challenging the rule of Alexander Lukashenko. Their ongoing detention is inexcusable.

It is vital that human rights violations in Belarus are independently investigated. Ireland and the EU have clearly stated that the impunity enjoyed by the security services must end.

Ireland has supported EU efforts to enhance the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate human rights violations in Belarus.  We also welcomed the establishment of an NGO-led International Accountability Platform for Belarus to gather and retain evidence of human rights violations.

We have also supported and co-sponsored EU sanctions against Lukashenko’s regime and associated individuals and commercial entities. This includes, for example, prosecutors involved in the imprisonment of individuals for political reasons. EU citizens and companies are now forbidden from making any funds available to those on the sanctions list.

Ireland will continue to put coordinated pressure on the Lukashenko regime that will hopefully lead to the release of the political prisoners currently held in Belarus. 


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