Dáil Éireann - Volume 571 - 01 October, 2003
Written Answers. - Human Rights Issues.
Mr. Gormley Mr. Gormley
229. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has raised with the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the human and civil rights situation in that country including the fact that Muslims are not allowed to convert to another religion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21403/03]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): I am aware of the serious concerns expressed by Amnesty International and others regarding human and civil rights in Saudi Arabia. In our ongoing contacts with the authorities of Saudi Arabia, Ireland and our EU partners have urged greater progress in ensuring respect for civil and political rights. We remain particularly worried at prohibitions and restrictions in the Kingdom on fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, assembly, association and religion. Violations of the right to a fair trial, arbitrary arrests and detentions and the lack of transparency in the legal system and restricted access to detainees are areas of deep concern.
We have strongly urged Saudi Arabia to become a party to and implement the two most important conventions in the field of human rights – the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Dáil Éireann 571 Written Answers. Human Rights Issues.