War widows aided by cash seized from firm

A CHARITY project has been given a cash boost from the Scottish Government with money seized from the proceeds of crime.

Oxfam’s work to support vulnerable widows in Iraq has been given £120,000 that was confiscated from a Scottish company for breaking sanctions imposed on Iraq by the United Nations.

The charity estimates there are one million widows in the country, with 330,000 in Baghdad alone, many of whom lost their husbands as a result of the Iraq conflict.

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Elissar Ashmar, an Oxfam programme officer in Iraq, said: “The many years of armed conflicts in Iraq have left a long list of vulnerable groups, and widows are one of the largest.

“The Social Protection for Widows programme simply gives these women the tools and support they need to stand up for their own rights.”

In February, the Scottish Government announced that £1.5 million of the £13.9 million seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act from the Weir Group in 2010 – after the company admitted breaching UN sanctions in Iraq – will support water development in Iraq and humanitarian programmes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The remainder of the money is to be used to fund community projects in Scotland.