Democracy and Human Rights Grants empower the vulnerable - O' Donnell
Grants to support Human Rights projects worth almost IR£575,000 were announced today by Liz O'Donnell, at the Department of Foreign Affairs. "The Irish Government has allocated almost IR£2 million to Democracy and Human Rights projects under this scheme for this year," the Minister of State said.
"By helping people to participate more fully in decisions that effect their lives, these funds help to give a voice to and empower the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world."
"The funding will help build democratic structures and encourage more inclusive, democratic societies in the least developed countries of the Third World and in the emerging democracies of Eastern Europe," Minister of State, Liz O' Donnell said.
The latest Ireland Aid grants include support for:
• street children, destitute and abused women and mentally ill and disabled persons in West Bengal India by providing training to 150 Non Governmental Organisations who are helping vindicate the human rights needs of the vulnerable and often neglected sections of Indian society.
• a worldwide campaign against child prostitution. Ireland Aid will support a delegation of grassroot workers to attend the Second World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. The funds will give those most effected by sexual exploitation a voice at the important Congress. It will be hosted by the Government of Japan in co-operation with UNICEF in December 2001.
• the peace processes underway in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo by providing funds to the Office of the Facilitator of Inter Congolese Dialogue, the former President of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire.
• the Burmese Democratic Movement by developing political leadership and public service management skills of some of its representatives. The support will help them take an active role in negotiating a peaceful return to democracy in Burma.
The Minister explained that democratisation and human rights were central to Ireland's Development aid to priority countries. "The Governments will continue to mainstream human rights, democracy and governance throughout the entire programme of development co-operation over the coming years," O' Donnell said.