Response of Chinese Ambassador very concerning

24 July 2020

Reaction to the Chinese Ambassador’s comments on concentration camps of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region and on the restriction of civil liberties in Hong Kong

Labour Foreign Affairs spokesperson Brendan Howlin has described as very concerning the allegation from the Chinese ambassador to Ireland that reports of ethnic cleansing against the Uighur population in the Xinjiang region have been exaggerated and fabricated. 

“The reports from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International of an estimated one million Uighur Muslims being held in internment camps should be chilling to anyone who believes in the fundamental principles of human rights, including freedom of religion and freedom of expression. 

“I will be shortly introducing the Proceeds of Crime (Gross Human Rights Abuses) Bill, based on the Magnitsky Bill which would have the potential to impose sanctions on those who perpetuate human rights abuses. 

“Furthermore, the new national security law imposed on Hong Kong represents a worrying restriction of civil liberties and freedom of expression. The crackdown on protesters witnessed over the past year has been deeply worrying, and Ambassador Xingdong’s description today of the protesters as terrorists should be of concern to all of us who stand for human rights and the rule of law. 

“Earlier this month, I asked the Taoiseach to review the extradition agreement as I do not believe Ireland should allow extradition to Hong Kong under the new legislative regime. Considering the new national security law now imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing, it is important that the extradition instrument be reviewed. 

“As Ireland prepares to take a seat on the United Nations Security Council, I hope that we can continue to stand up for the key tenets that were central to our campaign, and that gained us the respect of other Member States. Principled, consistent and courageous engagement on human rights and the multilateral system must be at the heart of our international engagement.”

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