For Oral Answer on : 23/06/2022
Question Number(s): 143 Question Reference(s): 33202/22
Department: Foreign Affairs
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the way his Department has engaged with the organisation frontline defenders and the people with whom they support in conflict zones; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Front Line Defenders (FLD) is an Irish based international Non-Governmental Organisation that works exclusively for the protection of human rights defenders at risk globally. Headquartered in Dublin, with staff in all regions of the world, it provides rapid and practical support to human rights defenders, particularly in fragile and conflict-affected countries. In 2021, the organisation awarded more than 1,000 protection grants to human rights defenders in 96 countries and provided security support to more than 500 across 55 countries.
Ireland’s strong commitment to human rights is at the centre of our foreign policy and the Department has supported Front Line Defenders since its foundation in 2001. They currently receive funding under my Department’s multi-annual Programme Grant II, with €592,337 awarded for 2022.
In December 2020, Minister Coveney inaugurated a memorial monument in Iveagh Gardens alongside UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Mary Lawlor, and FLD’s Executive Director, Andrew Anderson. It commemorates the lives of human rights defenders who have been killed because of their peaceful work defending the rights of others. The Memorial recognises the important work of human rights defenders globally and pays tribute to the many brave and inspirational individuals who have been silenced.
In 2021 my officials worked closely with Front Line Defenders to facilitate visas for Afghan human rights defenders at risk, through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. The Government was commended for its collaboration in securing their safe passage.
My Department was also pleased to attend the 2022 Front Line Defenders Awards event on 27th May and to host individual meetings with, and be briefed by, the award recipients on their courageous work.
In October this year, my Department will participate in Front Line Defenders’ biennial Dublin Platform, hosted at Dublin Castle, joining human rights defenders from across the world to share strategies for advocacy and protection and to build solidarity in our common quest to defend human rights for all.