Promotion of human rights an essential part Ireland’s aid programme – Minister of State Conor Lenihan
Mr. Conor Lenihan T.D., Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, today underlined the importance of promoting human rights and good governance through Ireland's aid programme.
Speaking at an Amnesty lunch in Dublin today, Minister of State Lenihan said,
“Ireland's aid programme is probably best known for its efforts to address issues such as lack of access to basic health and education and for our response to natural and man-made emergencies.
However, we also devote considerable resources to addressing problems of governance, corruption and human rights. Our spending in this area will total some €88 million this year.
Difficulties in these areas are symptoms of the severe underdevelopment we are trying to tackle.
In the programme, we work to strengthen the systems of Government in our partner countries. More than thirty years of experience with the aid programme has taught us that development must be locally owned.
In the aid programme, we will encounter problems but we will not cut and run at the first sign of difficulties. To do so would be to abandon people in great need.
If necessary, we will take action.
Earlier this year I took the decision to cut Ireland's support to the Ugandan government by €3 million, as a signal of concern about the slow pace of democratic reform.
That was an exceptional measure, taken at a time of particularly great concern about developments in Uganda.
That was not a decision taken lightly or easily but it was, I believe, necessary.
I have continuing concerns about the situation in Uganda and our Embassy is monitoring the situation closely.
As a significant donor we have a voice, and I am determined to ensure that it is heard.
All of you here involved in development work know that we do not always have the luxury of operating in a perfect environment.
You also know that that is why we are engaged in the first place.”