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Tánaiste Simon Coveney addresses the Human Rights Council for the first time



Tánaiste Simon Coveney addresses the Human Rights Council for the first time and attends the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva


The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., is in Geneva today (Monday, February 25th) to address UN Human Rights Council and the Conference on Disarmament.


Addressing the Human Rights Council for the first time this morning, the Tánaiste recalled that the first act of Dáil Eireann 100 years ago was to issue a “Message to the Free Nations of the World”, anchoring our approach to international engagement “in freedom and  justice”.   


Emphasising that a century later, Ireland stands by that commitment to freedom and justice, the Tánaiste noted:


It is woven through our foreign policy, through our bilateral engagement and through our determined and committed membership of the European Union. It underpins our commitment to the United Nations and to the Sustainable Development Goals.  It is the reason we are acting on our promise to meet the UN target of providing 0.7% of GNP in development assistance by 2030 and it is the cornerstone of our candidacy for a seat on the UN Security Council for 2021-22.”


Highlighting the importance of civil society and human rights defenders, the Tánaiste expressed concern at the continued use of the death penalty and identified a number of other human rights priorities for Ireland including equal treatment for LGBTI persons, as well as drawing attention to the serious human rights concerns in Yemen, Myanmar and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.


The Tánaiste also addressed the high-level segment of the Conference on Disarmament, where he reiterated Ireland’s support for the UN Secretary General’s Agenda for Disarmament. The Tánaiste announced that Ireland will champion three of the actions identified the Agenda -  facilitating dialogue on nuclear disarmament, work towards a political declaration to address the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and building understanding on the impact of arms on conflict management. 


The Tánaiste’s progamme in Geneva includes meetings with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.




Press Office

25 February 2019

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