Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gay Activists want SNP Government to withhold aid to women and children in Malawi, since when was bullying and threat incorporated in human rights?

Dear All

Malawi isn't Scotland.

Recently, I wrote this post;

The jist of it was that the Scottish Government has to learn that human rights don’t allow us to force our beliefs on others by way of threat to withdraw essential aid.

But like every hot potato, it has popped back up, with pressure on the Scottish Government to use its special relationship with Malawi to help overturn the conviction of two men sentenced to 14 years’ hard labour for being gay.

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga shouldn’t be in prison.

In the west such a thing is ridiculous as people have equality but the rights invested here in Scotland under the Human Rights Act don’t apply to the same extent in Malawi.

Now, Gay activists say that all future aid payments to the country from Scotland should be dependent on reform of human rights in the African country.

This is wrong.

Why should people who preach about human rights think it is appropriate to inflict pain and suffering on others?

The Scottish Government gives aid money to ease suffering, such money shouldn’t come with strings or our morality attached.

If change is going to take place in Malawi, it must be by will of the people, not external threats.

Ross Stevenson, director of Pride Glasgow, said;

“We urge the Scottish and UK governments to enter talks with Malawi officials in ensuring that aid and other support given to the country is linked to reform for equalities and human rights and to offer support in doing this.”

This is nonsense; if they don’t change then they are denied aid?

Carl Watt, director of Stonewall Scotland takes a much more politically astute position when he says;

“We would expect MSPs and the Scottish Government to use our relationship with Malawi to bring pressure to bear, and we very much hope that is what is happening.”

Fiona Culture and External Affairs Minister has taken up the case of the two men imprisoned and has tried to persuade Malawi’s government to release the men however she stopped short of calling for human rights reform.

She said;

“Quite clearly it is a fundamental breach of human rights and I raised the subject of human rights in general with the Malawi government when I visited in February. And also this week I have written to raise my concerns. But we are not going to turn our backs on children who need food, women who are dying in maternity and also those suffering from HIV and Aids.”

Fiona Hyslop should continue her dialogue with the Malawi Government but the answer of those people who are seeking to stop aid for women and children must be fundamental no.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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