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21/07/14 09:48

Practical help on human rights

Helping children in the developing world access education.

Helping children in the developing world escape child labour and access education is a practical demonstration of the Scottish Government’s commitment to human rights, External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf said today.

Mr Yousaf announced joint funding from the Scottish Government and Sport Relief for two projects, delivered by UNICEF, which will improve the lives of children in the developing world, helping to secure an international legacy from the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

One project is in Bangladesh and will work to prevent child labour by providing cash transfers to families of vulnerable children to ensure they finish school and are not sent out to work before they are ready. The other is in Malawi and helps young people develop the skills they need to find jobs.

Mr Yousaf said:

“By funding these two projects in conjunction with Sport Relief, the Scottish Government is practically demonstrating our support for human rights throughout the Commonwealth and our commitment to being a good global citizen.

“Both projects focus on improving the life chances of children and young people, who are the key to sustaining legacy beyond the Games. Whether it is preventing child labour in Bangladesh, or helping young people in Malawi gain the skills and training they need to get a job and improve their lives, these projects will open up a world of opportunities many of us take for granted and give young people a chance to make their own future.

“The Scottish Government is committed to creating an equal and fair society for everyone, built on the fundamental values of a nation free from prejudice, discrimination and victimisation, and tackling injustice and exclusion in all forms.

“In many parts of the Commonwealth, human rights are being infringed. As a government, we are clear that we condemn human rights abuses wherever they occur, and that we expect states to abide by international human rights standards.

“But we do not seek to lecture and it would not be appropriate for us to do so. We recognise that many nations are on a journey, a journey that Scotland has been on and continues on today.

“Our approach to achieving equality, tackling non- discrimination and fostering good relations is a positive and progressive one today. A deep sense of fairness is part of the fabric of life in Scotland, and this Government is committed to tackling injustice and exclusion at home and internationally.”

Monica Dzonzi, UNICEF Youth Ambassador said:

“As the coordinator of the Bangwe Youth Centre, which will be supported by UNICEF through this generous donation from the Scottish Government and Comic Relief, I am happy to say these funds will be put to great use, improving the futures of children and young people in my home town of Blantyre, Malawi.”

Kevin Cahill, Chief Executive at Comic Relief, said:

“Comic Relief is proud to be involved in the legacy of the Commonwealth Games through this funding. Helping children and young people in developing countries by preventing child labour and develop skills is an important part of Comic Relief’s work, and we hope that through these projects we make a real and lasting change in people’s lives.”

Mr Yousaf was speaking at the “Beyond the Games” conference on Commonwealth values in Glasgow.

The funding to UNICEF of £750,000 is part of Sport Relief and Scottish Government’s Home and Away programme – a joint funding initiative which will allocate over £1.4 million to projects in Scotland and Internationally.