Humza Yousaf MSP

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Humza Yousaf MSP

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  • Member for: Glasgow
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Humza is a member of the following Committees:

Humza is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

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Meeting of the Parliament 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
The Minister for External Affairs and International Development (Humza Yousaf)

Heaven forfend!



Meeting of the Parliament 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
The Minister for Europe and International Development (Humza Yousaf)

The First Minister will attend the national Scottish holocaust memorial event 2015 in Ayr on 27 January to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. The Scottish Government has financially supported the development of the 2015 event through a grant of £8,000 to Interfaith Scotland. I will attend the Glasgow schools holocaust memorial event and a holocaust memorial day reception in the Scottish Parliament.



Meeting of the Parliament 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Humza Yousaf

I thank the member for that important question, and I absolutely share his concern about anti-Semitism and the horrific actions that took place in Paris, including those incidents that were specifically targeted at the Jewish community. All of us are united in our condemnation of those events and in our feelings of hurt about them. The Scottish Government values the important role that the Jewish community plays in enriching our lives in Scotland.

On the wider issue of hate crimes, it is important to say that hate crimes decreased between 2012-13 and 2013-14. However, between June 2014 and 20 January this year, there have been 57 reported incidents of anti-Semitism. That is, by this Government’s standard, 57 incidents too many.

The Scottish Government works closely with the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities and many other organisations to stamp out anti-Semitism. For example, the Scottish Government-funded speak up against hate crime programme will continue to reassure people in the Jewish community that we absolutely appreciate their contribution to Scotland and we will continue to work closely with them so that they feel safe here.



Meeting of the Parliament 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
The Minister for Europe and International Development (Humza Yousaf)

The Scottish Government’s international development fund currently focuses on providing support in seven priority countries. In addition, over the past two years we have responded to humanitarian emergencies in the Philippines, Gaza, Syria and west Africa. We have previously assisted in Iraq, with money that was confiscated from the Weir Group. We do not have plans to extend that in the current international development funding round.

We are, of course, closely monitoring the situation in Iraq, and we are very concerned about the plight of the people who have been affected by the on-going violence carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant—ISIL—against innocent civilians, which we condemn in the strongest possible manner.



Meeting of the Parliament 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Humza Yousaf

I recognise the work that Bob Doris has done with the people of the Kurdish region. Since his last meeting with the then Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil, officials have contacted the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, which told us that the industry generally works with International Health Partners to donate medicines to places in need. ABPI has contacted IHP and is still awaiting a response but, on the back of Mr Doris’s questions, I will certainly chase that up myself.

Regarding Scottish Water, the issue has been raised previously, and the Scottish Government contacted Scottish Water to see what work it could do with the region of Kurdistan. The appropriate details were passed on to the Kurdistan Regional Government, and it would be for the KRG to liaise directly with Scottish Water to determine whether or not some assistance can be given.

I am more than happy to meet the member and to meet representatives of the KRG—which we do on a regular basis.



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
The Minister for External Affairs and International Development (Humza Yousaf)

I thank Jim Eadie for securing the debate and lodging the motion, which I am pleased to speak in support of on behalf of the Scottish Government. I wish Mercy Corps a very happy 35th birthday. I will turn 30 this year and I am having a bit of a pre-30 crisis, so I might speak to Mercy Corps to see how it adapted to being in its 30s. Congratulations to it, its staff and the wonderful team that it has around it for everything that they have done in those 35 years. I am sure that it will continue its work for many years into the future.

It is a privilege for the Government to have the European headquarters of such a large and prestigious organisation as Mercy Corps based here in Scotland. Not long after I came into my post, I was given a tour of its Edinburgh offices and was impressed by the dedication and commitment of its staff, especially those who were planning to work through the Christmas period to provide help to those who need it most. I am delighted that I will visit the offices tomorrow and I look forward to meeting staff and the new chief executive, Simon O’Connell, who brings to his new role a wealth of experience of working in developing countries.

Jim Eadie was right to say that the world that we live in is afflicted by many challenges. Last week, the United Kingdom representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees spoke at the Scottish Refugee Council’s annual general meeting of the refugee crisis that we are facing, which Liam McArthur and Jim Eadie referred to, with 58 million people in the world forcibly displaced—more than at any time in history since the second world war, which is absolutely incredible.

I want to touch on a few points that have been raised. First, I want to commend Mercy Corps for the work that it does on long-term resilience. Jim Eadie described that eloquently in his speech. A lot of aid agencies that are designed to assist communities, particularly in natural disasters and sometimes in response to conflict, go in in a very well-intentioned way and do a lot of great work, but of course they have to move on to the next crisis, the next conflict or the next natural disaster. That is understandable and correct. What Mercy Corps does, which Jim Eadie touched on, is the longer-term resilience work with local partners. Jim Eadie spoke about Azerbaijan and Armenia. Mercy Corps is there for the long term. It is there before disasters take place and it is there to ensure that if such disasters are repeated, they will not have the same devastating consequences again. It is there after the media spotlight has gone from the conflict or natural disaster, when many other aid agencies have pulled out for understandable reasons. Mercy Corps should be commended for that long-term resilience work.

I want to touch on a point that Jim Eadie raised about humanitarian aid. I am pleased that the Scottish Government has a good record of responding to humanitarian disasters, be that in Gaza, Pakistan, Haiti or Syria or, most recently, the Ebola crisis. Usually the Disasters Emergency Committee is a trigger for the Scottish Government to put forward some funds to help to tackle a crisis, but that is not always the case. The DEC moved on Ebola after we had already donated significant money to the World Health Organization. A number of members mentioned the floods in Malawi. I will make some announcements very soon on what support we can give in that regard, but obviously there has not been a DEC trigger for that.

There are on-going discussions with Mercy Corps on how we set the criteria for triggering humanitarian aid. The challenge that we face is that we do not have a set budget for humanitarian aid in the Scottish Government. We rely on not just the international development fund but the generosity of other departments within Government. I am very sympathetic to looking at the matter further.

Linda Fabiani spoke incredibly powerfully about her own experiences with Mercy Corps. I agree entirely with her point that sometimes three years does not seem enough of a timeframe and I am very sympathetic to examining that. It is certainly something that we are looking at as a Government.

Patricia Ferguson made an equally powerful contribution, which focused on Syria. She made the good point that aid is important but we can do more than that. In my discussions tomorrow with Mercy Corps, I am more than happy to discuss its plans on the education front in Syria and to see how we can assist in that regard. I am keen that the entire Scottish Government plays a role in international development and that it is seen not just as a challenge for the international development department but as a cross-Government priority for us all. I am happy to take that up with the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning.

On Patricia Ferguson’s point on Syria, we could be doing a lot more about the refugee crisis, given that 3.8 million Syrians are now refugees. I commend the work that the UK Government has done in delivering aid—in fact, the UK Government is the second-largest aid donor to Syria, so it should be commended for that. However, I would urge the UK Government to go further with regard to the refugee crisis. Thus far, many European countries have taken tens of thousands of refugees, but the UK Government’s vulnerable persons relocation scheme has thus far resettled only 140 Syrians. We can do more and Scotland is ready to play her part.

Mercy Corps has a long-standing relationship with the Scottish Government. One of the projects that I have been involved in and seen the fruits of is the project in Kashmir. As members will know, Kashmir is a region that has been blighted by conflict and instability for many years. Some 48 per cent of young people there are unemployed.

Mercy Corps received £400,000 of Scottish Government funding to deliver a programme to encourage entrepreneurship—young entrepreneurship in particular—over a three-year period. It ran an awareness campaign that reached more than 38,000 young people, alerting them to the possibilities of setting up new businesses. It received a phenomenal response, and by directly providing 170 young people with finance and the advice that they needed to start up their own businesses, the project has helped to harness creativity, enthusiasm and entrepreneurship. When I visited India in October 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of those entrepreneurs.

With the assistance of Mercy Corps, the Scottish Government has also helped to make a difference through many other projects.

I want to touch on the issue of gender equality, which was raised by Jim Eadie and also picked up by Linda Fabiani. We know that there are far too many maternal deaths and that there is too much infant mortality in the developing world. One of the projects that we deliver with Mercy Corps looks to empower community midwives in the Balochistan region of Pakistan. We are very proud of that, and of all the projects on which we work closely with Mercy Corps.

The Mercy Corps mission statement is to

“Alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.”

In a world where suffering, poverty and oppression are sadly all too commonplace, Mercy Corps serves as an inspirational example of how one organisation can make a difference.

I commend the motion and I am pleased to support it on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Meeting closed at 17:51.  

Meeting of the Parliament 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
The Minister for External Affairs and International Development (Humza Yousaf)

I thank my colleague and friend Hanzala Malik for lodging his motion and securing cross-party support for it, and I thank members for their eloquent and articulate but also insightful speeches. I will try to touch on a few of them.

I think that I speak for everybody when I say that this is one of those members’ business debates that we would rather not be having, but nonetheless it gives us the opportunity to express our solidarity with the people of Pakistan, the Pakistani community worldwide and those who stand in defiance against terror.

I note, as other members did, Hanzala Malik’s personal endeavours in fostering closer relationships between Scotland and Pakistan, and indeed between his and our beloved city of Glasgow and Lahore. He has done well to foster those links and they are strong and enduring.

Members will be aware that Pakistan is a country that is close to my heart and close to Hanzala Malik’s heart because of our family connections. My father was born there and, although my mother was born in Kenya, her parents came from Pakistan. Hanzala Malik has family from Pakistan, too. However, such was the depravity of this attack that it did not matter whether somebody had a link to Pakistan. People felt the absolute suffering, the anger at what happened and the absolute sadness of the events that took place regardless of whether they have such family connections.

I want to touch on a couple of points that were made in the debate. It is worth while to reiterate a point that Hanzala Malik made in his opening speech. Pakistan is up there with the countries that have suffered the most—if not the country that has suffered the most—because of the so-called war on terror. For a country that had nothing to do with the incident that led to the war on terror—the dreadful attacks on 9/11 on the twin towers in New York—it has, as Hanzala Malik said, lost $80 billion from its economy, tens of thousands of innocent people have been killed and millions have been displaced from their homes. Kenny MacAskill was also correct to remind us that countries in the developing world are the worst affected by terror.

Countries such as Pakistan continue to suffer from terrorism, as we saw from the attacks on 16 December. Who would not be moved by what we saw on our television screens? Those images will stay with us, chillingly, for ever. The children’s shoes scattered across classrooms, blood-soaked jotters, desks riddled with bullet holes—that is not what a school should look like.

I pay tribute, as Malcolm Chisholm and Johann Lamont eloquently did, to the bravery of those children who returned to their school in Peshawar just yesterday. The children of Pakistan must be the bravest in the world, if we think of those who have returned to school and, of course, Malala Yousafzai as well. Children who have been fired at and been the target of Taliban brutality have not thought twice but have gone back to the very school where their schoolmates and playmates in the playground lost their lives less than a month ago. I salute them and stand in absolute admiration of their courage.

So horrific was this attack that, when it took place, it was even condemned by the Afghan Taliban, who are not known for their compassionate streak by any stretch of the imagination. Such was the brutality of the attack that even the Afghan Taliban said that it was “unIslamic”.

I think that, as a result of the attack, there has been a step change in Pakistani attitudes. It would be wrong to say that there was not some modicum of sympathy for the Pakistani Taliban in Pakistan. There was, as those who have travelled to Pakistan and those who know the Pakistani community will know. That was not born out of any belief that what the Pakistan Taliban was doing was correct. It was probably an anti-western reaction more than anything else, and Kenny MacAskill made an important point in that regard.

When we are fighting terrorism—and we have every duty to do so—we must be careful that we do not give terrorists any ammunition or get them any public sympathy because of unjust actions such as the drone attacks that have taken many innocent lives, or by not being careful enough about who we support on the global stage. The Taliban is a classic example of that, coming out of the mujahideen, which was trained by the United Kingdom, the United States and other western forces. We must be careful that we in the UK, in Scotland and in the rest of the western world, are voices of compassion and that we do not give terrorists any ammunition whatsoever.

Colleagues have touched upon the fact that one of our friends, Councillor Jahangir Hanif, lost two family members, and I express the Scottish Government’s condolences to him and his family. I know that Hanzala Malik and Mr Hanif are very close. If I am right, they are also related, so my sympathies go to them all.

Hanzala Malik touched on the important point that education is vital to ensuring that we defeat the scourge of terrorism and radicalisation. I am pleased about the project that Anne McTaggart mentioned for the scholarships that have put girls and women through university, and we will look to build on that. The refresh of the Pakistan plan that we are aiming at could look to promote gender equality more strongly than it has done in the past.

Education is certainly the key to defeating radicalisation. Yes, there is no doubt that a military solution is needed—those who will take up guns against children have to be defeated—but if we want to defeat radicalisation we must recognise that we cannot kill an idea with a bullet. We have to challenge it through education.

That gives the Muslim community a big challenge in relation to al-Qa’ida and ISIS-inspired terrorism: the challenge is for moderates within the community to ensure that we are educating people in the progressive Islam that we know is the core of the religion.

There is also a challenge for us all when a common enemy, such as that which we face through the worldwide extremist threat, will kill anybody, Muslim or non-Muslim. If there is a common enemy, there must be a common solution and we must stand in solidarity. We must not allow those who seek to divide us to do just that. An assault on one must be seen as an assault on us all.

Meeting closed at 17:52.  

Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
The Minister for Europe and International Development (Humza Yousaf)

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of migration for healthy population growth and sustainable economic growth. European Union migrants play a valuable role in our economic prosperity and will always be welcome in Scotland. A University College London report that was published earlier this month made the value of EU migrants clear. It found that, between 2001 and 2011, recent European migrants made a net contribution of £20 billion to the United Kingdom economy.



Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
Humza Yousaf

John Mason makes a very valid point. Where concerns and tensions exist we have a duty to address them, but politicians must not be tempted to use inflammatory rhetoric in the pursuit of cheap political gain.

I felt disheartened and angry when I read the comments from the UK Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, about towns and cities being “swamped” and “under siege” from immigrants. We must condemn such distasteful language, which is, frankly, straight out of the British National Party’s handbook.

Immigrants contribute culturally, socially and even—thank god for it—through their cuisine, so EU migrants are very, very welcome in Scotland.



Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
Humza Yousaf

I do not see anybody advocating, and I have never come across a politician or political party that advocates, illegal immigration. We all want to clamp down on those who choose to abuse the system, and that is absolutely correct. However, we must understand that being part of the European Union means that, for every person who comes from Eastern Europe to work in Scotland, there is a Scot who has a retirement villa on the Costa del Sol. It is a two-way process, which we enjoy.

I agree with Jamie McGrigor that there are vital sectors that need immigration, and the UK Government’s immigration rules are completely counterproductive in filling those skills gaps. That is why the Institute of Directors, the Scottish Trades Union Congress and Universities Scotland have requested a measure of devolution on immigration.

We will chew over what the Smith commission has said on the matter as one of the issues for consideration. I am sure that Jamie McGrigor, given the geography that he represents, will wish to make further representation on the matter too.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12154.1 Lewis Macdonald: Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) – Supporting Indivi
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12120.1 Jenny Marra: 2020 Vision, the Strategic Forward Direction of the NHS—As an amendment to
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12101 John Swinney: Budget (Scotland) (No.4) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the general prin
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12095.4 Ken Macintosh: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12095.2 Alex Johnstone: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12095.1 Willie Rennie: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12095 Alex Neil: Tackling Inequalities—That the Parliament agrees that a strong, sustainable eco
>> Show more
YesCarried

Selection of John Pentland MSP for appointment to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.
Not VotedCarried

S4M-12060.2 Hugh Henry: Commending the People who Keep Scotland Safe in Emergencies—As an amendment
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12045.3 Shona Robison: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Rich
>> Show more
YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Humza Yousaf
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-10712: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10347: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10147: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09547: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-04694: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/11/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-03984: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/09/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-03935: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/08/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-03832: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/08/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-03752: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/08/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-03751: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/08/2012 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-01180: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/06/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00992: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/04/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-06825: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/04/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00950: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/04/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00904: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/03/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00868: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/03/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00682: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/01/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00630: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/01/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-00392: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/01/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-04640: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/12/2011 Show Full Question >>