Speaking as the Scottish Parliament prepared to debate a motion marking the 10th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda and the Millennium Development Goals, Cardinal Keith O'Brien welcomed the debate and congratulated MSP Des McNulty who drafted the motion.
Cardinal O'Brien noted; "It is over a month since I myself, returned from a visit to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On my return I asked that the people of Scotland and indeed the people of the world, do not abandon Rwanda these ten years after the genocides. The world seems to go from crisis to crisis but the genocides in Rwanda some ten years ago were in some ways almost without precedent - and should not be forgotten"
"In Africa, we find some of the poorest countries in our world at this present time. I fully support the words recently uttered by Kofi Anan, the Secretary General of the United Nations who stated: "The eradication of poverty must not be subservient to the security of the rich". Here in Scotland, we must continue to bring pressure on our elected representatives and consequently on our governments to increase aid to the poorest countries of the world, especially Rwanda. There is a responsibility on our government, on the European Union, and on the peoples of the world to work to cancel unrepayable debts; and also our responsibility to make global trade fair so that trade does indeed benefit the poorest people in the world."
Cardinal O'Brien concluded;
"I welcome this debate in The Scottish Parliament today and commend Des McNulty MSP for initiating it."
Paul Chitnis, SCIAF Chief Executive also endorsed the motion, saying:
"As a leading Scottish aid agency, SCIAF welcomes the debate on the Millennium Development Goals. Although the Scottish Parliament does not have direct responsibility for the UK's international development policy, Scotland is well integrated into the global economy and has a history of involvement with many of the poorest countries in Africa where the MDGs are off-track. This debate is a small act of solidarity with these countries and is a worthwhile opportunity to highlight the urgency with which the international community must find the resources to meet the MDG's 2015 deadline. Otherwise 30,000 children will continue to die every day from entirely preventable causes.
As the first generation with the knowledge, means and wealth to end global poverty, there can be no excuse for rich countries failing to honour the promises they have made to the developing world over many decades. Willing an end to poverty is not good enough without also willing the means. The UK government should say when it will meet the target for delivering 0.7% of the UK's GNP to the poorest people in the world."
Note to editors:
1. Full text of motion below.
2. SCIAF (Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund) is the official overseas aid and development agency of the Catholic Church in Scotland. Contact: Margaret Ann McShane, Communications Officer, SCIAF Tel: 0141 354 5510 Mob: 07989 743 525 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
0141 221 1168
S2M-972# Des McNulty (Clydebank and Milngavie) (Lab) :
Millennium Development Goals- That the Parliament notes the 10th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda and continuing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa; recognise the extreme urgency of international efforts in making progress towards achieving the eight millennium development goals by 2015 including the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achievement of universal primary education, promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women, reduction of child mortality, improvement of maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development; further recognises the role that churches and other civic society organisations in Scotland have played in reminding us of our responsibilities to people in the poorest countries, and looks forward to a timetable being set by Her Majesty's Government for meeting its commitment to increase the UK aid budget to 0.7% of gross national product.
Supported by: Mr Michael McMahon, Eleanor Scott, Jackie Baillie, Ms Sarah Boyack, Maureen Macmillan, Mike Pringle, Nora Radcliffe, Ms Nicola Sturgeon, Ms Wendy Alexander, Chris Ballance, Mark Ballard, Bill Butler, Cathie Craigie, Roseanna Cunningham, Susan Deacon, Mrs Margaret Ewing, Marlyn Glen, Robin Harper, Patrick Harvie, Margaret Jamieson, Marilyn Livingstone, Mr Michael Matheson, Dr Elaine Murray, Murray Tosh, Helen Eadie, Donald Gorrie, Mr Kenneth Macintosh, Mr Keith Raffan, Elaine Smith, Stewart Stevenson, Mike Watson, Shiona Baird, Scott Barrie, Trish Godman, Pauline McNeill, Jean Turner, Mrs Karen Gillon, Ms Sandra White, Cathy Peattie