AusAID has observed International Human Rights Day by announcing the names and details of projects that will receive funding under its 2012 Human Rights Grant Scheme. A total of $3.7 million will be provided to 42 projects spanning the Asia Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, South America and the Caribbean. Successful applicants include organisations working to improve access to victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Congo, ending the exploitation of children in the Solomon Islands, combatting human trafficking in Cambodia and improving awareness of civil rights in Myanmar.
International Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10 December each year to mark the anniversary of the adoption of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations.
This year the focus is on the rights of all people to make their voices heard in public life and be included in political decision-making.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr said promotion of human rights is crucial to allowing people of all ethnicities and abilities equal access to good governance.
“Australia supports the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is providing material assistance through our aid program to ensure that the rights and freedoms of people everywhere are advanced.”
He noted the Human Rights Grants Scheme was established in 1997 and has proven to be an effective and efficient way for Australia to distribute funds to worthwhile projects in all regions of the world.
This year’s grants will go to organisations working in places such as:
- The Democratic Republic of Congo, where $99,975 will enhance access to justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
- Egypt, where $100,000 will help provide legal aid, psychosocial and resettlement services for refugees.
- Fiji, where $74,455 will improve economic and employment opportunities for people with disability.
- Guatemala, where $90,000 will enable indigenous women defenders to provide legal and other support services to women victims of violence.
- Myanmar, where $85,000 will help develop the capacity of civil society organisations to help increase communal engagement in local governance and awareness of basic rights.
- Palestinian Territories, where $99,971 will help strengthen monitoring and reporting on human rights violations of Bedouin communities.
- Paraguay, where $99,500 will help promote the rights of lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and intersex people.
- Solomon Islands, where $100,000 will support actions against exploitation and trafficking of children.
- Uganda, where $100,000 will help reduce unlawful detention through provision of legal assistance services.