Irish Foreign Minister announces review of foreign policy; believes that values and economic dynamism are compatible

November 18, 2013

Eamon Gilmore made the announcement at the 13th annual NGO Forum on Human Rights, which is taking in Dublin Castle today.

(Minister Eamon Gilmore at the 13th annual NGO Forum on Human Rights, on 13 November)

Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore, announced at the 13th annual NGO Forum on Human Rights in Dublin [this year’s forum was on “Ideals and Interests: the place of human rights in foreign policy] that he had initiated a complete review of Ireland’s foreign policy and external relations – the first such audit to be carried out in nearly two decades. This is important as Ireland – although a small nation – is one of the few with an explicit policy to support human rights defenders.

Mr Gilmore said he wanted to ensure the State produced “the right mix of policies and instruments with which to engage as a responsible global actor and to protect the values and interests of our people”. A consultation process is part of the review inviting input from members of the public, and other stakeholders with an interest in Ireland’s foreign policy. The Minister said the conduct of international politics was being undertaken in the context of new and significant challenges, including climate change, development cooperation, and the revolutionary wave of protest and change constituting the Arab Spring. “It is easy at times to be pessimistic about the place of human rights in foreign policy,” he told delegates. “Yet, both in policy and in the day-to-day interaction between States, human rights issues are constantly on the agenda…….Through the work of international organisations, the media and civil society, there is a remarkable degree of international scrutiny of States’ implementation of their human rights obligations.” However, Mr Gilmore admitted the integrity of the international human rights system was under threat as a result of reprisals against individuals or groups who seek to co-operate with or who have co-operated with the United Nations. A central question for the forum, he said, was how to maintain a focus on human rights in “the real-time realities of the global market place”.

Our belief is that values, economic dynamism and development are not incompatible” Mr Gilmore said  in relation to the panel debate that had just been held on the compatibility of human rights ideals with political and economic interests, chaired by Patricia O’Brien, the permanent representative of Ireland to the United Nations.

via Gilmore announces ‘complete review’ of State’s foreign policy – The Irish Times – Wed, Nov 13, 2013.

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