Violence Against Women and Girls
Last week the International Development Committee published our report on Violence against Women and Girls. Over the years the committee has been confronted with the appalling way in which women and girls are treated in many societies.
The evidence we received was frankly shocking. Women are regularly beaten, raped, mutilated, given away as dispute reparations, married off as children, denied access to education, land and livelihoods.
Yet they are also treated as collectors of firewood and water and expected to provide and cook food for their families.
When donors of foreign aid try to address these issues they are often told that they should not interfere with the conservative cultures of the countries they are trying to assist.
Of course, there are practices which we have little or no right to challenge such as modes of dress, respect between sexes and generations, forms of worship, etc. However we should not hold back on supporting civic society groups trying to change the most repressive practices.
Duchess welcomed as new Chancellor of Aberdeen University
I was delighted to be able to attend the ceremony at the University of Aberdeen to install HRH the Duchess of Rothesay as Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen last week.
This prestigious event involved academic processions and musical interludes, with key elements of the ceremony delivered in Latin. The ceremony also included the historic Declaration of Fealty and the Chancellor’s Address.
Her Royal Highness is both the first member of the Royal Family and the first woman to hold the position of Chancellor.
Donside voters have clear message for Parliament - DON’T Short change the North East
At the time of writing, we are entering the final stretch in the by-election for the Scottish Parliamentary constituency seat of Aberdeen Donside. While I have enjoyed being back on the doorsteps again, campaigning for our candidate Christine Jardine, and listening to people’s views, it has become very apparent that the issues which matter to people most are local.
Whatever the result of this by-election, I hope the new MSP for Donside will take local issues to Holyrood and campaign for a fair share for Aberdonians. It is in the interest of Shire residents that the City secures greater investment for public services and infrastructure which will benefit the whole region including
visitors to both areas.
Busy work agenda at G8
The world’s media has been focused on the Northern Ireland as the leaders of the G8 gathered to discuss a range of topics with the agenda focused on advancing trade, ensuring tax compliance and promoting greater transparency.
The reality is however that Syria has pushed its way to the top of the agenda with increasing international pressure on how to deal with the worsening situation there.
With Putin, Obama and the EU’s players all in the one room and so far all taking different positions, it has become critical to try and negotiate a common position on what is essentially a humanitarian crisis as much as a civil war.
Under Putin’s leadership it is less likely that the stalemate between Russia which backs the regime and the rest of the G7 who oppose Assad will be broken. regime and the rest of the G7 who oppose Assad will be broken. That aside, the EU partners and the USA also need to work together to agree a position on whether or not to arm the opposition and filtering out who the opposition exactly is.
Congratulations to Alison McInnes
I was delighted to learn that my colleague and friend Alison McInnes was honoured with an OBE for public and political service in the Queen’s latest birthday honours. An MSP for North East Scotland, Alison has a proven track record campaigning on Justice and Health matters nationally but also on important local issues such as transport and infrastructure improvements for the North East.
Having previously served as a councillor, Alison’s commitment to serve the residents of Ellon, Aberdeenshire and beyond is well established and I am glad that she has had the recognition she deserves.