Seventeen senators and TDs across several parties have signed a letter for the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs highlighting their concerns about the treatment of the Uighur people in China.
The letter asks that Ireland “immediately condemn the barbaric measures” used by Chinese authorities to decrease the Uighur population, the vast majority of which are Muslim.
It states: “The campaign has been labelled a ‘demographic genocide’ by international experts. We are deeply concerned about the ‘detention camps’ to which women are being sent if they have more than the ‘permitted’ number of children.
“News outlets are now reporting that China has subjected ‘hundreds of thousands of women’ to forced pregnancy tests, forced birth control, sterilisation and forced abortions.
“We are deeply concerned at drone footage that shows hundreds of men and women being led blindfolded onto trains. We are very concerned at reports of men and women being detained without charge or conviction for indefinite lengths of time in ‘thought transformation camps’,” it states.
The letter asks that Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister Simon Coveney “urgently intervene and make Ireland’s opposition to this torture known”.
“We feel it would also be beneficial if the Irish government were to lobby other western and European countries to join us in condemning these practices.”
The TDs who signed the letter included Aontú’s Peadar Tóibín, Neasa Hourigan, Patrick Costello, Joe O’Brien from the Green party, John Lahart from Fianna Fáil, Neale Richmond from Fine Gael, Cian O’Callaghan, Social Democrats, and Independents Matt Shanahan, Seán Canny, Carol Nolan, Michael McNamara.
The senators include Malcom Byrne, Fianna Fáil, and independent senators Michael McDowell, Lynn Ruane, Gerard Craughwell, Ronan Mullen and David Norris.
Peadar Tóibin said: “In recent years and months, we have witnessed the brutalisation of so many minorities by the Chinese Communist Party. No more so than the Uighur Muslim community in China. Its been report that up to a million members of this community have been forced into camps.
“Christians in China are now being told to renounce their faiths in order to avoid prosecution and to avoid removal of benefits and their rights. It began with the Uighur Muslims, and is now spreading to the people of Hong Kong and Chinese Christians.
“I call upon the Taoiseach, to denounce persecution in China at the present time, and to lobby other Western nations to do so as well,” he added.