Building stronger democratic structures is now a key aspect of Irish Government Development efforts
A new round of grants to support Human Rights projects worth over £300,000 were announced today by Liz, O'Donnell, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The Irish Government currently allocates £1.5 million on Democracy and Human Rights projects under this scheme every year.
"The grants are aimed at promoting respect for human rights and democracy worldwide" the Minister said."The emphasis is on helping people to assert their rights and to understand and participate fully in democratic processes. Building stronger democratic structures is now a key aspect of Development efforts."
A broad range of projects are funded. For example, Ireland Aid will fund a meeting of the Burmese Government-in-Exile later this year (the National Coalition of the Union of Burma- NCGUB). Members of the exiled Burmese democracy movement are already in Ireland to be trained in conflict resolution, management and negotiating skills. The members are preparing to enter into dialogue with the Burmese military regime and play a pro-active role in negotiating a return to democracy in Burma.
This latest package of grants announced to day will be used to fund a range of vital human rights and democratisation projects in Central America and Africa. The Minister singled out five projects for special assistance.
In Haiti, where crucially important elections will be held later this year, Ireland aid will fund voter education programmes and in Peru, Ireland Aid will support the efforts of National Campaign against Torture to stamp out abuses by the police and armed forces. In Colombia, a country steeped in violence , a grant will support local community peace-building and conflict resolution initiatives. The Kenyan Human Rights Commission will also benefit from Ireland Aid, and use the grant to set up "Human Rights Communities" throughout Kenya. Remand prisoners in Nigeria who endure long periods of imprisonment without trial, will receive legal aid from a local NGO thanks to a grant from the Irish Government. Top