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 18 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 18, 2014
The Minister for External Affairs and International Development (Humza Yousaf)

I thank Alex Fergusson for lodging his important motion, and I thank Linda McDonald, Charity Salima and the team at the Achikondi clinic for all the hard and good work that they do.

There is nothing like an impending Government reshuffle to focus the mind on one’s portfolio. I can say without any fear or favour that my portfolio is by far the best in the Government, which might be the best-kept secret in Government. The reason is that I get to see examples of the best change in the world and to talk to the people who are bringing it about. MUMs is a good example of that. The charity gives a gift that we cannot put a price on: the gift of life. The gift of a healthy child cannot be quantified.

When we speak about Malawi, we often talk about the historical context. Of course, it is important because it sets the foundation of the relationship that we have in the present and will take forward into the future.

That historical context centres around that amazing Scot, Dr David Livingstone. At heart, he was an explorer, but he was also a medic and a missionary—although he was not particularly good at that, as he converted only one person who, apparently, became a lapsed Christian. He talked about the three Cs: Christianity, commerce and civilisation. I always think that not enough attention is paid to the “civilisation” part. If we read some of his manuscripts, we can see that when he talked about civilisation he was talking about the slave trade, but also about the idea that humanity was all one, and that we should come together to face global challenges that affect us all, regardless of our race, colour, religion or where we come from. I am delighted that his legacy is being carried on to this day by people like Linda McDonald and people in Malawi, and also by our children. I still keep a close eye on the good work of people such as Martha Payne, the young girl who is helping Mary’s Meals to feed young schoolchildren in Malawi.

The point about that historical context is that it helps to inform our present relationship. Last week, I was in Geneva for a couple of days, talking about our international development work. The United Nations was extremely interested in what Scotland is doing and all the officials I spoke to said that although the size of a country’s contribution is important, what is equally important is the impact that Scotland is having and the leadership that we are showing. We have a relatively modest international development programme that is worth £9 million a year, of which £3 million is ring fenced for Malawi. However, from that small pot, we support more than 30 projects in the country.

That is unique not because of the top-down relationship, as important as that Government-to-Government relationship is, but because of the bottom-up relationship. The entire civic society of Scotland is involved, from the very north of our country and Mr McArthur’s—I was about to call him General MacArthur—constituency of Orkney, where I have met some of those who are involved in the relationship, right down to Selkirk in the Borders, where I have also met people who are involved in the relationship with Malawi.

That relationship covers the country not only geographically but demographically: I have met teachers, students, nurses, professionals and business people who are involved in it. In fact, a study from the Scotland Malawi Partnership showed that 84,000 Scots are involved in the relationship with Malawi. In a country of 5 million people, 84,000 are involved in helping to improve the lives of their fellow men, women and children in Malawi. According to the same survey, 50 per cent of people know somebody who is involved in that relationship and 97 per cent of people think favourably of it. In this time of financial restraint, economic austerity and food banks—difficult times for people—they are still in favour of committing our resources, energy and efforts to improving the lives of people who are far worse off than we are.

As have members who have spoken already in eloquent speeches, I have been to Malawi. It is difficult to understand the realities of abject poverty until we witness it for ourselves and speak to a mother who has had to bury her child because of malnutrition, or to a child who has been orphaned because his parents have such a low life expectancy, as Liam McArthur said. It is difficult to understand that, in a world of plenty, we have to hear the figures that Patricia Ferguson cited about the mothers who still die simply because they have become pregnant.

It is a great disgrace and shame to us all that, in the 21st century, women have to walk up to 30km in labour and then, through the pain of a fistula, suffer a delayed labour that not only causes their child to be stillborn but causes them internal damage—tissue damage that affects their rectum and bladder and leaves them incontinent. There is no way that they can have another child if that fistula is not repaired. Unfortunately, some of them are divorced because they will not be able to produce children. They are then outcast from entire communities. Imagine that in the 21st century.

Maternal health is incredibly important to the Scottish Government. We fund eight projects in Malawi, including one in Bwaila hospital in Lilongwe. I visited the fistula care centre in Bwaila hospital, where Linda McDonald, Charity Salima and the team work. Working with Ann Gloag’s Freedom from Fistula Foundation, I got to see how women who suffered from fistulas and various pregnancy complications got their lives back by being given a solar battery that they could charge other people from their village or town to use, which allowed them make an income for themselves and, therefore, to go from being outcasts to being business leaders in their communities.

I note and commend the range of good work that is done by MUMs, from antenatal and postnatal care, through HIV testing, to family planning advice, which is simple but also incredibly important. I hope that individuals and organisations will dig deep to support them.

We have heard much about Linda McDonald’s personal drive. If I can catch up with her after the debate, I look forward to saying a quick hello. From everything that I hear, she sounds like a phenomenal fundraiser. She should be quite careful, because a political party might snap her up if she continues with such a record.

Charity Salima is rightly described as a miracle nurse. Her clinic has delivered thousands of babies and there has not been one death since 2008.

I agree entirely with Alex Fergusson’s description of those two women as angels. Every member of the Parliament should determine what they can do to help MUMs. I will be happy to do that. Through the work that they do with MUMs, those two women and their team helped to re-establish my faith in humanity in a difficult world.

The greatness of a nation is not measured by its economic wealth or its military might, but by how it treats the most vulnerable in its society. In the globalised world in which we live, we can demonstrate our greatness through the work that is done by MUMs and the many other charities and good people that help to improve the lives of the least fortunate and the most vulnerable on our planet.

Meeting closed at 17:35.  

Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Humza Yousaf

Yes, I agree with those points. I saw the statement that the FCO made on 29 September, in which it reiterated those points. We agree that those freedoms can best be guaranteed through the transition to universal suffrage. We hope that the upcoming consultation period will produce arrangements that will allow a meaningful advance for democracy in Hong Kong. We encourage all parties to engage constructively in discussions to that end. I agree entirely with the two points that Jamie McGrigor raised.



Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Humza Yousaf

Yes. We are extremely concerned about the plight of Muhammad Asghar and have been for many months. The First Minister has intervened in the case and has spoken directly with Mohammad Sarwar, the Governor of the Punjab, where Muhammad Asghar is being held. I spoke to the FCO this week as well as speaking to Governor Sarwar, other Pakistani authorities, the family lawyer and the family themselves.

There are two immediate priorities. First, we have to ensure that Muhammad Asghar is kept safe and secure, which means his not being returned to Adiala prison, where he was shot. Secondly, we want to ensure that Muhammad Asghar gets the appropriate medical attention. He is severely mentally unwell and he needs a psychiatric assessment and medication to improve his health. Those are the immediate priorities, as well as working with the family, the legal team and the Pakistani authorities to secure Mr Asghar’s return. I assure Graeme Dey that we are extremely concerned and that the Scottish Government is doing everything within its power to ensure Mr Asghar’s health, safety and security.



Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
The Minister for External Affairs and International Development (Humza Yousaf)

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs last met the Minister of State for Europe, the Rt Hon David Lidington MP, at a meeting of the joint ministerial committee on Europe on 16 June 2014. The readout of that meeting was provided to the convener of the European and External Relations Committee on 30 June 2014.

We often correspond with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on other matters. This week I have been in touch with the FCO about the case of Muhammad Asghar, the Scot who is currently on death row in Pakistan.



Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Humza Yousaf

I note Bob Doris’s work in Kurdistan, in Iraq and in Syria. The issues of NHS support and medicine support from Scotland’s pharmaceutical industry were raised in a meeting with Bob Doris last week. I am more than happy to explore those issues, and I think that Bob Doris is going to write some correspondence to that effect, following our meeting, to engage with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing.

Members will not find this Government coming short with any assistance that we are able to provide.



Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Humza Yousaf

I recognise the work that Hanzala Malik has done in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. I am more than happy to meet him at any time to discuss ways that we could support Kurdistan, and to meet the new organisation—KISS, I think he called it. I am meeting representatives of the Kurdistan Regional Government next week, at an event that Hanzala Malik will probably also attend. I am happy to discuss further ways that we can support Kurdistan.

At the crux of Hanzala Malik’s question is the fundamental point that there must be a long-term strategic vision that protects the rights and freedoms of the people of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and I am happy to give support in that way.



Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
The Minister for External Affairs and International Development (Humza Yousaf)

The Scottish Government does not currently have any plans to provide financial support to the Kurdistan region of Iraq through our international development fund. However, we are closely monitoring the situation and remain very concerned about the plight of people who have been affected by the recent violence, which of course we condemn in the strongest possible terms.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Humza Yousaf

I wrote to Hugo Swire, the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on that very point. The Scottish Government is willing to provide any assistance that it can. Currently, Iraq does not come within the terms of our international development budget, but I am more than happy to discuss with members how we might offer such support. That offer was made to the UK Government back in August and continues to be the case. I am sure that, when the First Minister writes to the Prime Minister, he will reiterate the Scottish Government’s willingness to help with the humanitarian effort wherever we can.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Humza Yousaf

We support the provision of support and training to the Kurdish regional government. We understand its needs. However, any military action must not only have a legal basis—we know that it does—but be part of a long-term, strategic plan that includes a plan for peace and an exit strategy. That was missing from what was voted on on Friday. The vote on Friday did not separate actions to support the Kurdish away from the general situation in Iraq; we had to look at the action as a whole, and we could not support that action because we think that it would be counterproductive as opposed to helpful to the people on the ground, be they Kurds in Kurdistan or the wider Iraqi population.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Humza Yousaf

During Friday’s debate in the House of Commons, my colleague Angus Robertson said that the UK must not equivocate in its support for the Kurdish regional government, which must be supported. The Scottish Government supports that view. However, military action against Isil must be carried out within a long-term strategic plan that includes a plan for peace. What we were presented with by the UK Government was lacking in those elements. An open-ended bombing campaign alone will be counterproductive.

On the Kurds in Syria, the global community must redouble its efforts to find a long-term solution to the civil war in that country. A political solution must be found alongside any military solution, and it must be based on a human rights approach that protects the rights of all communities, including Kurds, in Syria. As a Government, we will support action within a long-term, strategic plan—a plan for peace is legal within the international framework—and our strong preference is that such action be led by regional partners. The First Minister will write to the Prime Minister this week to highlight the Scottish Government’s concern about the UK Government’s vote for military action against Isil without a specific timescale, without a plan for securing peace and without a long-term, strategic vision.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
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YesCarried

S4M-11507.1 Cameron Buchanan: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—
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NoDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
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YesCarried

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
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YesDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
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NoDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-11484.1 Jackson Carlaw: Human Rights—As an amendment to motion S4M-11484 in the name of Roseanna
>> Show more
NoDefeated

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 >>
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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 >>