Ireland must act on Uighur concentration camps

05 February 2021

Labour Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Brendan Howlin has called on the Irish Government to use our position on the UN Security Council and within the EU to address the despicable treatment of the Uighur population in China, saying we can no longer stand idly by as grotesque human rights abuses continue with impunity.

Deputy Howlin said:

“The systematic internment, abuse and torture of the Uighur population of China is a world humanitarian crisis. Many international experts now believe what is happening amounts to genocide.

“The accounts that have been gathered of the action of Chinese officials in these internment camps demand international action. The latest report from the BBC documents allegations of systematic rape, sexual abuse and torture.

“Ireland must take a lead in demanding an end to these inhumane actions and the immediate opening of all these centres to international monitors.

“Previous 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. 

“Ireland holds a position on the UN Security Council where we should now seek accountability from China on the Uighur concentration camps, and the ongoing crackdown in Hong Kong.

“Within the EU we also need to speak with one voice. How can we credibly agree to the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement investment treaty when such abuses are happening? We should be honest and admit that the use of slave labour in Xinjiang will not be stopped by the agreement with the EU on enforcing conventions on labour standards. If China will not agree to international monitors then sanctions should be seriously considered.”

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