Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade Deputy Darragh O’Brien has said that he finds it extraordinary that the Government does not have a view on Russia’s bid for a seat at the UN Human Rights Council as revealed to him during an exchange in the Dáil with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Commenting on the issue Deputy O’Brien said, “In the Dáil I asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan if the Government will support Russia’s bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. I raised the question in the context of a discussion on the appalling situation in Syria and the terrible atrocities that have been committed by the Syrian Government and Russian military.

“The Minister informed me that the Government ‘does not have a view on this decision’, which I have to say I find remarkable given the complete disregard that Russia has shown for human life; the use of weapons with indiscriminate effects, the tactic of using starvation as a weapon of war, and deliberate attacks on essential services such as hospitals, water stations and food supplies and on those providing humanitarian assistance.

“The election is due to be held on October 28th and Russia is competing against Croatia and Hungary for one of the six seats available to the Eastern European bloc. I believe that Russia’s actions in Syria stand in clear contradiction to the fundamental principles of human rights and I am disappointed that the Government have chosen to sit on the fence when it comes to their membership of the Human Rights Council.

“I believe their actions in Aleppo in particular and their use malevolent use of the veto at the UN Security Council demonstrates that they are not fit to serve on the Human Rights Council.”