by Jo Hayes on 27 April, 2015
I have received many emails asking me to support UNICEF UK’s campaign to end violence against children across the world.
We have to acknowledge that we are not going to solve it. But we have to help. It is very important to me that my party is internationalist in outlook. We are committed to maintaining international development aid at 0.7% of Gross National Income. Thanks to a private member’s bill tabled by Lib Dem Michael Moore, the commitment now has statutory force. This international development aid largely goes to help women and children. I do not agree with those who advocate slashing our aid budget. Maintaining it is wise as well as morally right.
As a Lib Dem I believe every individual has rights to choose their own destiny and to flourish. When we see an individual being exploited or attacked, we should seek to protect that person. This applies to children too. So I was involved in successful efforts to get my party conference to debate and adopt a policy of opposing and outlawing the cruel practice of Female Genital Mutilation. This was controversial at the time, but opinion has moved on. In the last government Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone did great work on this issue.
To answer the questions I am asked, I feel sure that my party will, if given the opportunity in government, continue to develop strategies to tackle violence against children through the UK’s international development programmes, and commit to working with other countries to the same end.
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