Minister Ahern Meets Amnestry International SG
Minister Ahern assures Amnesty International of Ireland's ongoing commitment to securing agreement on a UN peacekeeping force for Darfur.
“Ireland is committed to bringing peace and stability to Darfur” - Ahern
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, T.D., today met Irene Khan, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, in London. Their discussions centred on the situation in Darfur and the role of the new UN Human Rights Council.
The Minister assured Ms. Khan that Ireland remains committed to securing agreement on a UN peacekeeping force for the Darfur region in Sudan. Mr. Ahern recalled his visit to Darfur last July and expressed his concern at the ongoing human rights violations in the region.
“Ireland will continue to do all it can at an international level to bring these gross human rights violations to an end.” the Minister assured Ms. Khan. “Ireland is committed to bringing peace and stability to Darfur and also remains fully supportive of the ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court into serious crimes committed in the Darfur conflict.”
Ms. Khan thanked the Minister for his proactive stance in drawing attention to the situation in Darfur and welcomed his recent speech on the issue at the UN in New York. She said that Amnesty would continue its campaigning to bring about an end to violence and human rights violations in the region.
The new United Nations Human Rights Council was also discussed at the meeting. Minister Ahern pledged Ireland's full support for a strong role for NGOs in the work of the Council. “Ireland has actively supported a full and active role being given to NGOs at the Human Rights Council and will continue to do so”, he said. The Minister paid tribute to the constructive and supportive role played by Amnesty International in the work of the Council to date.
Note for Editors
Ms. Khan has been Secretary General of Amnesty International since August 2001.
Both Amnesty International and the Irish Government have been active in drawing attention to the situation in Darfur where there are ongoing reports of gross human rights violations. The Minister's visit to Sudan and Darfur in July 2006 served to highlight the seriousness of the situation in the region and the need for international intervention in the region.
At the UN World Summit in September 2005, it was decided to establish a Human Rights Council to replace the Commission on Human Rights. Elections to the 47-member body took place in May 2006. The Human Rights Council replaces the Commission on Human Rights, which had previously been the key UN Human Rights forum. Ireland, along with other EU Member States, took an active role in the negotiations leading up to the establishment of the Council. Ireland argued successfully that the Council must engage actively with civil society on Human Rights issues.
The new Council, which will hold its third session in Geneva at the end of November, will be the primary forum at multinational level for the promotion and protection of human rights.
8 November 2006