Amnesty Ireland expresses concern about possible foreign policy change

February 2, 2014

Newstalk image

Amnesty Ireland has voiced serious concern about the government’s failure to raise human rights issues during its trade mission to the Middle East. The group wrote to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Jobs to ask if it is now part of our foreign policy to allow trade issues to trump the government’s human rights commitments, sending a copy of its report from November 2013 which details abuses of the rights of migrant workers in Qatar.

Colm O Gorman, executive Director of Irish Amnesty, says Ireland needs to show leadership on human rights issues: “It is of grave concern to us that the Taoiseach and Minister Bruton who have led this mission seem to believe that it would be inappropriate for them to raise human rights issues as part of Ireland’s normal bilateral trade engagements with other states.

This view was reportedly expressed by the Taoiseach, and then repeated by Minister Bruton during a radio interview (with Newstalk). Minister Bruton said that the mission was a ‘business to business’ event, and that it was not an appropriate forum to raise human rights concerns. He went on to suggest that the appropriate fora are the EU and UN. If these statements reflect current Irish foreign affairs policy, they represent a departure from Ireland’s traditional approach to such issues. It has been the practice for many years of Irish governments to use such bilateral trade engagements with other states with poor human rights records to raise human concerns.

via Newstalk – Amnesty outlines concerns about foreign policy changes.

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