Scotland’s International Development Minister Humza Yousaf visited Qatar in April to raise concerns about the rights of migrant workers, it has emerged.

Many have died during construction of stadiums for the 2022 World Cup in the Arab state.

The Scottish Government revealed details of Mr Yousaf’s diplomatic engagements in Qatar today and the Herald been given exclusive extracts of a speech he delivered in the United Arab Emirates days later.

Speaking at Dubai International Writers’ Centre during the Emirates Literature Festival on April 7, Mr Yousaf called on Arab states to “comply with international and human rights law, and condemn human rights abuses”.

He said: “I am the proud son of an immigrant myself; my father like many immigrants across the world came to Scotland to make a better life for him and his family.

“He has had a small business in Glasgow for over 30 years, in that time he has created wealth, employed hundreds of local people and helped boost the local economy.

“However, for many years in the UK migrants were not treated the way they should be and to this day still face disadvantage even in Scotland and so too in this region (the Gulf).

“Strengthening the rights of workers is a path Scotland is ready to be a progressive partner with others on.

“As a good global citizen, Scotland has a strong and enduring commitment to securing democracy, the rule of law and fundamental human rights across the world. We expect all states to comply with international and human rights law, and condemn human rights abuses wherever they occur. Respect for human right and the rule of law are critical to the economic prosperity and stability of all nations and territories.

“Scotland has its National Action Plan for Human Rights, setting our ambitions to be the most equal and fairest country in the world – but we too are on a journey. We look to other countries including the UAE and others and offer a hand of partnership along their own human rights journey.”

Mr Yousaf today invited organisations which campaign for the rights of migrant workers to meet with him on September 23.

Amnesty International, the Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Scottish Trade Union Congress are expected to take part in a “roundtable discussion”.

The International Development Minister said: “Of particular interest is the issue of migrant rights in countries preparing for major events such as the World Cup and Olympics.

“This year, I have personally raised the issue of migrant worker rights in the Middle East on five separate occasions and we will continue to press for the rights of migrants workers to be respected.

“We need to work with the organisers of major events, as well as potential hosts, sponsors and rights holders to ensure that human rights and safe working practices are embedded in major sporting events and the legacy they leave.”

Amnesty International Scotland Programme Director Naomi McAuliffe welcomed the move.

She said: “We are keen to see the Scottish Government continue to influence for reform in countries with appalling human rights records.”

Mr Yousaf previously visited Qatar in 2013 but his engagements were not immediately recorded in official records prompting Labour MSP Neil Findlay to call for transparency.

The minister later said the omission was a “clerical error” and “not the work of the Illuminati or the Knights Templar”.

Details of meetings with members of the ruling Al Thani Qatari royal family in May 2013 are now publicly available.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said ministers have “taken every opportunity to engage constructively with Qatar on human rights, and to share good practice”.

“Humza Yousaf has raised the issue of migrants’ rights a number of times– including directly with the Qatari Ambassador to the UK, and in a public speech in the UAE,” she added. “In addition, Mr Yousaf also spoke with the Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy to raise Scotland’s concerns around human rights in relation to their World Cup preparations.”